My first introduction to squid was “fried calamari”. Are there many of us that can say otherwise? I’m sure there are a few lucky folks out there that could tell us about as amazing first time experience of squid braised with tomatoes, chile flake, currants, and lemon. Or maybe one incorporated squid ink, fresh chiles, and garlic? Jealous? I am. There is nothing wrong with really great fried calamari, but squid is so incredibly versatile and sustainable that I call for home cooks to take up the charge and start cooking more squid!
Squid can be sautéed, braised, or grilled. When purchasing look for whole cleaned squid or, if your up for a challenge, you can clean it yourself. Check out You Tube for instructional videos that take you through the steps. Try not be buy pre cut rings, they tend to be tougher. Look for squid from the U.S. Atlantic, California, or Mexico.
Garlic & Smoked Paprika Squid
Yields 1 cup, enough for up to 5 pounds whole, uncleaned squid
2 shallots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pobalano pepper, deseeded and minced
¾ cup olive oil
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp lemon zest
¼ cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp of chopped parsley
1 tsp of chopped mint
1 tsp salt
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add in half of the olive oil. When the oil begins to shimmer add in the shallot and garlic and cook over medium heat until they just start to caramelize, about 3 minutes. Add in the paprika, lemon zest, and worcestershire sauce. Let the mixture cook together for about 15 seconds and turn off the burner. This will toast the paprika in the oil and help release its flavor. Add in the lemon juice and the rest of the olive oil. Stir to combine. Add the salt and chopped herbs. Set aside at room temperature while you prepare the squid.
Yields 4-6 portions
2.5 pounds whole,uncleaned squid
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup of squid marinade
Clean and trim the squid. Toss the tentacles and bodies into a bowl and mix with the salt, paprika, and olive oil. Set aside while you prepare your grill. I recommend grilling over wood or charcoal, but a gas grill will work just as well. When the grill is ready, place the squid pieces flat on the grates and cook for about 2 mins on each side. The tentacles will cook a little faster. Remove squid from the grill and allow to cool enough to handle. Slice the bodies into rings about a quarter inch thick, cut the tentacles in half lengthwise. Toss the squid in the marinade and thoroughly mix. Check seasoning. Wrap with plastic wrap and leave out to let marinate for at least an hour. If it will be over an hour before you eat the squid, just let it marinade in the fridge and remove about half an hour before serving. I like to serve the grilled squid as a salad with farro, pinenuts, plumped currants and pole beans from the garden.
Note: What’s the difference between calamari and squid? Nothing. Calamari is the Italian word for squid!