Daily Archives: March 27, 2011
A Florida kid whose parents claim is deathly allergic to peanuts has an entire school tied up, with kids washing their hands, brushing their teeth and of course, eschewing peanut butter. Now the parents are revolting, and good for them. One child with hypersensitive parens can do this? Screw them.
At an advanced age, my mother recently confessed that she’d never tried squid or “Calamari” to those of you with an international culinary background. Heck, I’ve been chowing down on the stuff since the early 70′s, when I first became concerned about sustainable fishing – there are lots of squid out there, if we just don’t screw it up.
So I picked up a box of them, frozen, at the local grocery and thawed them out under running water yesterday. These guys are cheap - I didn’t check the price, but maybe 5 bucks? I figured on maybe dumping a portion of them but fortunately brother Anthony and his partner Brian showed up for dinner, so we were able to consume the whole batch. Otherwise, I might have had to toss out $2 worth of squid (although they work as leftovers quite nicely)..
Here’s what you do: clean ‘em: easy to do – chop off the head/tentacles – you’ll be cooking them, so just push them off to one side of the cutting board, then either slice the body open and scrape out the cartilage and whatever else is in there (not much) and slice the body into 1/4″ strips or, alternatively, cut the body into 1/2″ rings and use a finger to poke the innards out. I used both approaches to produce a mix of strips and rings. (You can buy squid pre-cleaned from a fish monger but the process is so simple and quick I wouldn’t waste the money).
Bread them. I used a 50/50 mixture of flour and Japanese panko bread crumbs because that’s what I had around, but cornmeal/flour would work just as well, as would flour alone. Add some herbs to the mix: thyme, marjoram, whatever you might have. I added salt, pepper and smoked paprika, myself. I mixed an egg with some milk as a dunk, then dredged them in the bread/flour mix.
Fry them. No need to deep fry and waste all that oil. Maybe a half-inch of regular vegetable oil. I sliced up a lemon and fried it first, then added the squid in batches. The key here is DO NOT OVER COOK! Mere minutes – over cook and you get rubber tires. Done right, you’ll be rewarded with crisp but delectable fish. Far better to err on undercooking (they’ll continue to cook while draining on a paper towel) than to vulcanize them.
Serve them. I accompanied these critters with a spinach salad with a vinaigrette and some terrific rice balls I’d purchased earlier that day from the Japanese fund-raiser at the Sound Beach Fire House. Fresh parsley and lemon slices added to both the appearance and taste.
Enjoy them. Everyone went back for seconds. Prep time was maybe 10 minutes, cooking time, about the same, even accounting for cooking in three batches. Not bad.