Thursday, July 2, 2015

Insalata di Calamari

When it comes to squid or calamari, there is a debate among some.  If you go to many restaurants and order calamari, you get rings.  Pale white rings (more often than not, overcooked and chewy).   The rings are sliced portions of the body or mantle of the squid.  They are also the most boring part of the animal.

For me, the best part of the squid are the tentacles.  Not only are the tentacles more interesting in a visual sense, but they also have a texture and taste that is far better than the cut rings of the body.  I think this preference is due to my love of octopus, which is only served in the form of tentacles.  Grill those tentacles, like the Barbecued Octopus with Arugula and Mint, and I am in heaven. Many people do not share my affinity for the tentacles of octopus or squid.  That is too bad for them, because they are missing out on a great food experience.  

This recipe -- Insalata di Calamari -- is a very simple and very tasty way to incorporate not just those rings, but the tentacles.  The simple part of the recipe is the boiling of the squid for a couple of minutes.  That is the beauty of squid.  It cooks fast.  That beauty is also deceptive, because a minute too long in the boiling water, and you are left with a chewy mess.  If you can cook that squid right, the rest falls into place.  Some white beans, lemon juice and red onions.  Garnish with some chopped parsley.  The end product is an amazing, healthy salad that will become a go to for a dinner any night or a nice dish to serve to guests. 

Recipe adapted from Oscar Farinetti, How to Eataly at pg. 232
Serves 4

1 pound calamari, bodies and tentacles
16 ounces of cooked white beans
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly

1.  Bring a pot of water to boiling over high heat.  Add the calamari and cook until opaque, for 1 to 2 minutes.  Drain  and, while still warm, toss some cooked white beans and sliced onion.

2. Whisk together the lemon juice and extra virgin oil oil and dress the salad.  Refrigerate until chilled.

3.  Serve with an additional spritz of lemon juice and some minced flat leaf parsley.


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