18 October 2010

a few squid is all it takes

I love calamari (also referred to as 'squid'), so it's unusual that I've never once cooked with it before.  I mean, I get well excited if I see it on a restaurant menu (not including fake calamari rings you see on pub menus, though they too have their time and place).  So you can imagine my excitement when, over the weekend, whilst reading a recipe for 'squid and saffron rice salad' Emma offered to show me how to cut up, prepare and use a whole squid.  I'd never even looked at the squid in the supermarket, frozen or otherwise, having always assumed that it must be terribly difficult to prepare.  Well, Em imformed me, it ain't necessarily so...

With making the aforementioned salad in mind we traipsed about the Taupo supermarket in search of our animal.  Unfortunately they were entirely out of whole squid.  So plan B - some frozen squid tubes, to make salt and pepper friend squid, as an appetiser.  Learning to cut up and prepare a whole squid will have to wait for next time.  

Once the squid had thawed out (doesn't take long, especcially on a warm day) Emma cut the tube along one side, so she could open it out flat.  She then scored it all over one side and cut into pieces (see awesome diagram).  When scoring the flesh it's best to use a slightly serrated butter knife, rather than a sharp kitchen knife, as they tend to make a wider cut, without just cutting right through (which you don't want).  Together we coated it in a mixture of flour and cornflour, seasoned with salt and pepper (a little paprika, lemon-pepper, garlic salt etc would make nice additions/substitutions here).   

Dave, reputed Squid Cook King, stepped in at this point, to take over my position as Emma's culinary partner, one I was happy to relinquish, leaving me watching as the coated strips of calamari were shallow-fried in a combination of hot butter and oil.  Don't cook for too long, or they'll become rubbery - they curl a wee bit when ready.  Serve hot, sprinkled with a little sea salt (Maldon was the preferred type on this occasion) and a good grind of pepper.

Nb: Be careful also not to oversalt them before serving - better to use the salt sparingly and place a dish of salt on the table, so people can add more to taste.  

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