Tag Archives: Calamari

‘NDUJA and CALAMARI as a pasta sauce

‘Nduja is a spicy, spreadable, pork salame originating from Calabria. ‘Nduja is appearing on many menus and recipes – it seems to be replacing chorizo as an ingredient. As tasty as chorizo is, there has been a glut of it in far too many dishes.

I have been buying ‘Nduja for a couple of years now – ask for it in places that sell Italian smallgoods. I always like friends to try new ingredients and I have mainly presented ‘Nduja at the beginning of the meal as an accompaniment to the first drink with some fresh bread (like Pâté ) or I have used ‘Nduja as an ingredient in sauces for pasta – I made an excellent ragù (a meat-based tomato sauce), I added it to sautéed cime di rape with Italian pork sausages and sautéed it with squid (use small to medium sized squid).

 

I always enjoy eating squid and because squid cooks quickly I enjoy making pasta sauces with it. The photo of squid was taken in the Catania Fish Market a few years ago.

I have already written a post about NDUJA and a recipe for ‘Nduja and Squid as a pasta sauce  – SPAGHETTI with ‘NDUJA, SQUID, VONGOLE AND PAN GRATTATO. If you enjoy spicy food, it is worth doing.

See vegetable: CIME DI RAPE

Unfortunately I have made this pasta several times but I have not taken photos –  I am too busy dishing it up for guests.

CALAMARI CON MELANZANE (Sautéed squid with eggplants)

A common recipe throughout Italy is braised calamari (usually called calamari in tegame – a tegame is a shallow sauté pan with a lid). The squid are sautéed and then simmered with some liquid – usually wine and/or tomatoes. In Italy small sized squid or cuttlefish is the norm: Australian regulations ensure that our squid grow to a more mature size (a good thing), but generally the larger they are, the tougher they can be.

Squid-with-eggplant-800x565

For a main course for six people you will need 3 kg of calamari – because they shrink. Potatoes and peas are often included in this dish, but this time I added summer eggplants.

INGREDIENTS
small squid, 3 kg
white wine,1 cup
flat leaf parsley, chopped, 1 cup
extra virgin olive oil,  ½  cup
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
onions, 2 chopped
eggplants, 2 medium sized, peeled and cut into small cubes
tomato salsa, 1 cup
PROCESSES
TOMATO SALSA: fresh, peeled, ripe, chopped tomatoes or a can (with the liquid), a little extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves left whole, fresh basil or oregano and a little seasoning. Place all of the ingredients into a pan together and evaporate until thickened.
Prepare the squid by removing the head with a sharp knife. Open the body and remove the internal organs. Retain the ink sacs and freeze them if you wish to use them at another time for pasta with black ink sauce.
Wipe clean or wash the squid and cut into strips.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the peeled chopped onions lightly.
Add the squid; stir-fry it for about 5 minutes.
Pour in the white wine, salsa and eggplants, season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Cover and cook gently for 15-20 minutes until the eggplants are cooked.

 

 

CALAMARI RIPIENI CON FORMAGGIO FRESCO E MARSALA (Stuffed calamari with fresh cheese and braised in marsala)

I use marsala fina or secca (dry) for my cooking. It is nothing like marsala all’uovo – unfortunately this has given marsala a bad name.

Marsala is the fortified wine of Sicily. Like sherry, there are various blends and some is aged in wood for longer than ten years; it is called marsala stravecchia and as noble as any good liqueur. Those of you who have been to Sicily and have visited the Cantine Florio in Marsala, in the province of Trapani would know what I am talking about.

images

The squid are stuffed with fresh cheese. Being a Sicilian/ Italian recipe, the soft cheese used for the stuffing can be one of the following: tuma, pecorino fresco, mozzarella, fior di latte, bocconcini and even ricotta….and not the tub variety! On this occasion I used Danish feta – definitely not traditional, but I had some marinading in extra virgin olive oil, dry oregano and fennel seeds in the fridge.

There were other liberties I took with this recipe: Instead of the parsley, I used fresh marjoram, once again, because I had some growing and because I like the sweetness of this herb – it goes well with nutmeg and with soft cheese. Not Sicilian either! My mother would never have approved of the “fusion” ingredients – Italians are a bit like that, they stick to what is correct and proper. I have come a long way! You may be wondering about the dark colour on the body of the squid – it is because I do not bother to strip each squid meticulously  – what comes off, comes off.  ( The same with octopus!)

 

For a main course estimate 1 squid per person – these are medium sized squid – usually the smaller the better as large squid can be a bit rubbery.  For an antipasto the squid can be cut into slices and feed 6 people.

INGREDIENTS

4 medium squid 1 cup breadcrumbs (small), made from good-quality day-old bread 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely cut ¼–½ teaspoon nutmeg 150g fresh cheese cut into small cubes (see above) 1 cup dry marsala 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

PROCESSES

Clean the squid: pull off the head and the inside of the squid and discard. Cut off tentacles and save them for another time. Toast the breadcrumbs in a little oil. Cool. Mix the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley and nutmeg together and add the seasoning. Stuff the squid and secure each end with a skewer. Sauté each squid in olive oil. When golden, add the marsala, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes (depending on size). Uncover and evaporate the juices as necessary.

 

MA2SBAE8REVW

GRILLED CALAMARI (CALAMARI ‘NTA BRACI (Sicilian) – CALAMARI ALLA BRACE (Italian)

Both calamari and cuttlefish (seppie) are very popular in Italy.  Calamariis the Italian word for squid and it refers to those species of squid with long side fins; those with relatively shorter side fins are seppie (cuttlefish). In Australia the two species are often sold interchangeably.

Cuttlefish is usually braised and is favoured for making black ink sauces. As for squid, it is cooked and eaten in many ways, including raw but probably my favourite way of cooking squid is alla brace (grilled over hot coals); my gas fuelled Baby Webber does a good job too.
I prefer to grill squid on high heat for a short time; Italians (includes Sicilians) generally prefer to cook it on medium–low heat for longer. When you cook it for a short time, the squid may still look a little shiny, but the residual heat completes the cooking, the flesh will turn opaque but remain moist.
I generally buy small to medium sized squid (anything bigger than 400g each I consider to be large squid.) Grilled Calamari are popular all over Italy, but the salmorigano dressing is Sicilian.
 
INGREDIENTS AND PROCESSES
Season the squid with a fine sprinkling of salt and leave it to rest for about 5 minutes. .
Baste the squid with a little extra virgin olive oil; for extra flavour, use a strong sprig of rosemary or oregano as a brush.
Brush a little oil on the metal grill before cooking the squid and grill the squid for 4-8 minutes on each side. This will depend on the size of the squid and how you like it.
Place them on a large serving platter and rest it for about 3-5 minutes before covering it with a little dressing.

 

SALMORIGANO
A simple, Sicilian dressing is salmorigano. Mix together some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, a little dried oregano (it is stronger tasting than fresh), some finely cut flat leaf parsley and some salt and pepper to taste. Some also add a clove of finely chopped garlic.

MA2SBAE8REVW

CALAMARETTI IN TEGAME – in Sicilian it is CALAMARICCHI ’N’TIANU (Small calamari braised with tomatoes and potatoes)

dsc_0066

Calamaretti is the diminutive of calamari and Italians do mean small. This is a common recipe for braised calamaretti. In Australia it is often difficult to purchase small sized squid or cuttlefish, but do your best.  A tegame, is a shallow pan.

The photo of this squid was taken in the fish market in Catania, however I have been extremely pleased with the squid from my fish vendor (Happy Tuna stall in the Queen Victoria Market) and I have been buying it frequently.

I particularly like char grilled calamari with a salmoriglio dressing (oil, lemon, parsley, oregano). However, a simple braised calamari is also a good alternative, especially in winter.

For a main course you will need 3 kg of young calamari or more because they shrink. Potatoes and peas are often included in this dish.

INGREDIENTS
small squid, 3 kg
white wine,1 cup
flat leaf parsley, chopped, 1 cup
extra virgin olive oil,  ½  cup
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
onions, 2 chopped
potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes or chunks (estimate for 30mins cooking time)
tomato salsa, 1 cup

TOMATO SALSA: fresh, peeled, ripe, chopped tomatoes or a can (with the liquid), a little extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves left whole, fresh basil or dried oregano and a little seasoning. Place all of the ingredients into a pan together and evaporate until thickened. Add a little sugar, more olive oil and some extra leaves of fresh basil.

PROCESSES
Prepare the squid by removing the head with a sharp knife. Open the body and remove the internal organs. Retain the ink sacs and freeze them if you wish to use them at another time (see recipes……..).
Wash or wipe the squid and cut into strips.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the peeled chopped onions lightly.
Add the squid, stir for 3 minutes, and pour in the white wine, salsa and potatoes, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cover and cook gently for 30 minutes.
 VARIATIONS
Add 4 chopped anchovies, to above recipe.
When in season add peas, (2 cups shelled).
MA2SBAE8REVW