Hello Everyone! Happy end of February - how many days until the Farmer's Market opens?? We're starting the countdown at 36 today! We're featuring squid this week, the creature more fancifully known as "calamari" and trying hard to ignore the snow outside. There's a lot that can be said about squid, so I will try hard not to write you a book on the subject. Any way you slice it, they are a great source of lean protein, inexpensive, and so mild in flavor (read: easy to like) that they mostly take on the flavor of the other ingredients in a dish. The big pitfall is the "rubber tire" factor, so read on for
|It's Squid Fries!
tips on cooking this surprisingly yummy sea creature. We have the cleaned tubes and tentacles at $4.99/lb this week, calamari steaks at $5.50/lb and on Friday we're expecting our first batch of squid "fries" that will be priced at $4.99/lb through Sunday.
There is a hefty supply of great fresh fish in the case this week including some really good looking fresh Kodiak true cod, fresh ling cod for Friday afternoon, fresh rock cod (snapper) and both Dover and petrale sole. We have a bit of fresh sturgeon, Key West pink shrimp for Friday, a few more whole mackerel from the Chesapeake, and a good dab of fresh wild steelhead out of the Quinault River. Shucked oysters from Hama Hama will be in this afternoon, and we're getting live clams, mussels, and shell oysters in about every other day. Lots of Westport crab are sharing the live tank with a few live Maine lobster. Our previously frozen Alaskan halibut are HUGE this week, (80 pound fish!), so if you like a nice fat halibut filet, we've got you covered... come see us!
I am resisting the urge to wax poetic about the legendary, ship swallowing, deep sea Giant Squid in favor of the type we actually sell and consume, but I've got to start by
saying they're fascinating creatures. Up to 46 feet long, it's common to find circular scars from the tentacles of these monsters on large whales. It wasn't until 1995 that the first live Giant Squid was even photographed, so there's lots more to learn about these cephalopods. They are rather aggressive creatures from all reliable accounts, but they're probably not going to attack your friendly neighborhood shoreline anytime soon.
Considerably further down the food chain is our little buddy, the domestic squid. Our squid comes from Point Judith, Rhode Island, the self-proclaimed "hub" of the US squid business. We source our squid from a large company called The Town Dock
, and they get most of their squid from the port of Galilee draggers that fish off the Eastern Seaboard. Atlantic squid are deemed a "best choice" or "good alternative" by the folks at Seafood Watch, so the fishery is well managed and
sustainable. Squid is also incredibly healthy for you, as chronicled by many a food writer. Six ounces of squid gets you over 25 grams of protein at just 155 calories, and 2 grams of the "good" fat. It's a nearly perfect source of animal protein and contains a proportionate balance of all the essential amino acids; it's rich in selenium, riboflavin and B12. It's so good for you it's been suggested (no joke) that a plate of calamari can cure a hangover. You should eat some! Read on for the tried and true fried calamari with aioli recipe and a kalamata calamari pasta dish that is as delicious as it is healthy.
So there are two schools of thought when cooking squid. You either want to cook it for just a moment
or long enough so that it has time to return to "tender". You want to shoot for 60 seconds, *or* 30 minutes.... and anything in between is ill advised unless you're wanting a jaw workout. When making fried calamari you're after that 60 second (or less) sweet spot where the squid and coating is just
cooked and not overcooked. It can take a little practice, but it's fairly simple so give it a shot!
Fried Calamari with Aioli
serves 2-4 for appetizers
½ pound calamari
½ cup flour or batter mix
Salt, pepper, seasonings
1" deep vegetable oil in a pan
Put your pan on the stove and make a mental note that a grease fire is put out with baking soda, NOT water. (Safety first!) Add enough vegetable oil so that you have it about an inch deep, and turn on your burner medium highish (you're shooting for 350 degrees or so). While your oil is heating, slice the squid tubes into rings and tip the flour onto a plate. Sprinkle salt, pepper and any other seasoning you like (we use a Creole seasoning most often) on your flour and stir to combine. With clean fingers, toss your squid in the seasoned flour to coat. In small batches, gently add your squid to
the oil and cook until golden, about 45- 60 seconds depending on how many you put in at once and how hot your oil is. With a slotted spoon, rescue your now perky squid from the oil and tip onto a paper towel covered plate to drain. Serve with lemon and aioli sauce for dipping!
2 big spoonfuls of mayo
The juice of half a lemon + the zest from the whole thing
2 T finely chopped parsley
Stir it all together!
|Kalamata Calamari Pasta
|This is pretty much the same as a big batch of homemade spaghetti only you're substituting squid for the traditional ground beef and adding the flavorful kalamata olives and white wine. Super healthy, makes excellent leftovers, and it's fairly easy to make! I like to get the pitted kalamata olives from the olive bar at Top Foods.
½ yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 pound sliced mushrooms
2 T olive oil
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 tiny can tomato paste
1 cup white wine
1 pound sliced squid tubes and tentacles
¼ cup pitted kalamata olives
1 pound pasta, (cooked el dente or according to package directions)
Finely minced parsley, lemon zest and parmesan cheese for garnish
In a big pan, sauté the onion, garlic and mushrooms in the olive oil until softened. Add the tomatoes, wine, squid and olives and simmer on medium heat without a lid for about 30 minutes (or until the squid returns to tender). Add the tomato paste to thicken it up a bit and serve over just cooked pasta. Sprinkle with parsley, lemon zest and cheese for garnish - enjoy!