Squid and Octopus

June 9th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

HG has written before about the reluctance of most Americans to make squid and octopus part of their everyday diet. Sure, raw octopus is hard to find and cooking it well takes some skill. But, squid? Always available at Whole Foods and many supermarket fish counters. Cheap. Healthy. Simple to prepare. Versatile. Here’s how HG/BSK do it. Squid tubes are cut into rings and the tentacles into manageable clusters. Rinsed and then dried thoroughly. Very thoroughly, so that when fried, the squid will get crispy. Toss them into a pan of hot, smoking vegetable oil. Cook for one minute to 90 seconds. After draining on paper towels, BSK ads them to a pan of gently warmed Sicilian olive oil, thin slices of garlic, Greek hot and sweet pickled peppers. Showers the dish with parsley and some lemon juice. HG likes the sautéed squid (minus the peppers) mixed with linguine and a parsley/anchovy/olive oil mix plus some capers. David Tanis, the very good food writer, likes to top warmed canned cannelloni beans (Goya is the best brand) with squid, surrounded by slices of raw, sweet onion and ripe tomato and drizzled with a bit of olive oil. As far as octopus goes, HG gets some cooked octopus at Whole Foods and treats it like sashimi. Otherwise HG revels in grilled octopus at Greek restaurants (The eateries in Chicago’s Greektown section are expert in cooking octopus). But, the best octopus dishes are found in Europe. HG/BSK remember with fondness eating octopus with the late, great Italian food authority Marcella Hazan and her husband, Victor, at a stately restaurant in Mestre, the industrial town that is Venice’s neighbor. These were baby octopus just pulled from the Venetian lagoon, poached gently and served with only olive oil, lemon juice and coarsely ground black pepper. Sublime. In Madrid, HG/BSK found a funky, noisy, non-tourist bistro that served beautifully tender Polpo Gallego (octopus prepared in the Galician style). After lunching on this dish plus a platter of delectable little fried peppers); Gambas Ajillo (garlic shrimp) and a pitcher of sangria, HG/BSK were fortified to view Velasquez, Rubens, Titian, Bosch, Rembrandt, Goya and El Greco at the nearby Prado art museum. Nice to combine delicious food for the body with exhilarating food for the soul.


Treat From Venezia!

June 21st, 2012 § 0 comments § permalink

There’s a dish that HG and BSK often enjoy but never serve to guests. Too ominous. Too scary. HG refers to linguini with sauteed squid in squid ink sauce. Very black. HG and BSK first encountered the dish in Venice many years ago. The Venetians used seppie (tender little cuttlefish plentiful in the Venetian lagoon) and seppie ink. Love at first bite. Here’s the way HG and BSK do it. Saute garlic and shallots in olive oil. Add some cumin, oregano and cayenne plus a bottle of clam broth. Simmer. Add some crushed canned tomatoes and a jolt of tomato paste. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly. You’ve got a nice, seafood based red sauce. Add a packet of squid ink (available online through Amazon.com ). Stir. Magic. You’ve got a jet black sauce. Add to it a pound of cleaned and cut up squid (tubes and tentacles) that you’ve sauteed over high heat for just a few minutes. Toss your cooked linguini in the pan. Mix it all up. Have plenty of napkins available.

Ocean State Lunch

June 10th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

A respite for Gifted Daughter LR and Profesore/Dottore MR. These busy professionals never have time for restaurant lunches. HG (resident in landlocked Santa Fe) often dreams about freshly shucked oysters and clams freshly dug from the seashore. The solution: Monday lunch at Hemenway’s, a bright, lively restaurant overlooking the river in downtown Providence. A few dozen oysters (from the shores of Rhode Island, Connecticut, Long island and Rhode Island). A few dozen little neck clams from Rhode Island (known as Quahogs in New England). All sparkling with freshness and full of briny flavors. Then a lobster salad with big chunks of juicy Maine lobster. A platter of fried squid with hot peppers (a Rhode Island specialty).

With sun pouring through big windows and a reasonable amount of Murphy-Goode Fume Blanc being poured, this was memorable New England dining.

Summertime Squid Salad – A Quick Treat.

May 18th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

HG loves squid. Tasty. Healthy. Low calorie. Most restaurants serve calamari as a deep fried mess that tastes something like a KFC chicken that drowned in the Atlantic. In a previous post, HG noted that the key to tasty squid is quick cooking. Here’ a nice Summer salad idea from HG. Cut squid into rings and tentacles. Bring a pot of water to a raging boil. Toss the calamari into the pot for one minute. Retrieve the calamari and plunge the rings and tentacles into icy water to stop the cooking. Throw some Soba noodles (or vermicelli) into the boiling water and cook until tender. Drain and rinse in very cold water to stop the cooking. Top the noodles with the squid and gently toss with sesame oil, fish sauce, chopped herbs (parsley, basil, cilantro, mint). Squeeze some lemon on the dish. Have some invaluable sriracha on the table for a squeeze of heat. Serve with sliced cucumber and top it all with scallions. Icy La Ferme Julien rose would be a nice companion.

Fast Sea Treats

March 25th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

First, pour a glass of icy white wine. Sip. Finely chop some garlic and parsley. Heat your pan to high. Give it a glug of olive oil. Toss in the garlic, parsley and a bunch of shell- on shrimp. Dust liberally with piquant Spanish paprika. Saute quickly at a high temperature. You’ve got a spicy dish prepared in minutes. Another HG seafood trick that he picked up in Rhode Island. Cut up calamari into rings and tentacles. Dust lightly with Zatarain’s Fish Fry. Saute in some olive oil. Give it a hit of red pepper flakes. At last moment add some Mazzetta Mini Hot Pepper Rings (or any other vinegary peppers you like). Do not overcook — Bad for squid! Keep it on heat until peppers are slightly warmed. Sip some more icy wine. Be happy.

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