Tag Archives: Happy Tuna in the Queen Victoria Market

TAGLIOLINI CU SUCU RI SICCI –TAGLIERINI COL SUGO DI SEPPIE (Pasta with a cuttlefish sauce and carrot and potato)

Calamari is 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).

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Calamari, cuttlefish and squid

This recipe is for seppie (ink fish) , but  squid is much easier to buy in Australia although the two species are sometimes sold interchangeably and sold as calamari.  They are found right around the Australian coast and are available year round.

Commercially they are wild-caught mainly by seafloor trawling and many end up as by catch in nets. Squid jags are a favourite with recreational fishers. They generally are a fast growing species and for this reason are considered sustainable.

In Australia squid was once only used for bait and be very cheaply priced, but unfortunately, too many people have come to appreciate it and the price has gone up significantly.

Many of the rings and tubes sold are imported. There is also local product and this may not have been frozen, but the flesh can be tough – usually they are from much bigger squids than I would generally buy. Unfortunately the tentacles (very tasty) are generally removed for easier processing and packing in ice, ready for export.

I am very spoiled when I buy squid  from my fish vendor at Happy Tuna in the Queen Victoria Market where I shop.  It is so fresh that it could easily be eaten raw or needs very little cooking. My favourite vendors always select for me small and medium sized squid, which they know I prefer. The photo is from the fish market in Siracusa, Sicilia and it shows the common size for squid sold in Italy.

This recipe is a wet pasta dish – a common consistency for Sicilian soups which generally contain a large amount of pasta. What I like about this recipe (from Mazara del Vallo, on the west coast of Sicily) is the addition of carrot and potato – two very popular ingredients in Australia, but not so popular in pasta dishes in Sicily.  The squid used are young, small cuttlefish or squid – the smaller ones are considered more tender.

In the original recipe the taglierini (fresh pasta cut into thin strips, tagghiarini is the Sicilian term). These are made without eggs, perhaps this was once due to poverty or scarcity, rather than choice, but the practice of making pasta without eggs In Sicily has remained. If buying commercially made pasta, use thin ribbon pasta. (When the pasta is coiled like in the photo, the shapes are sometimes called nidi – nests of pasta.)

 

INGREDIENTS
taglierini, 600g
squid or cuttlefish, 1.5kg
carrot, 1 diced (small)
potato, 1 diced (small)
onion, 1 chopped finely
extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup
white wine, ½ cup (optional)
red tomatoes, 500g, peeled and chopped
garlic, 2 cloves, chopped
parsley, 1 cup cut finely
basil, 7-10 leaves
salt
chili flakes and/or grated pecorino (optional) to taste.

PROCESSES

Sauté the onion in ½ cup of oil, add the potato and carrot and when the ingredients begin to brown add the garlic. Add the tomatoes, a little salt, and the parsley and over medium evaporate some of the juices.  Check that the potatoes and carrots are cooked and if they are not, add some liquid (water or wine) and cook for a little longer and do not drain.
Cook the pasta.
Sauté the squid in ½ cup of oil – use a separate, wide fry pan (it cannot be overcrowded or it will stew). Toss the squid around in the pan on high heat for a few minutes, add a little salt, wine and seasoning and evaporate.
Add the squid to the vegetable mixture.
Combine the pasta with the sauce. Add the basil leaves and serve.
Sprinkle with chili flakes and/or grated cheese.
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WHERE I BUY MY SUSTAINABLE FISH (Happy Tuna, Queen Victoria Market)

I have always established and maintained a good relationship with all the businesses from whom I buy my produce and have been rewarded – I get very good service and the freshest produce. My fish vendor is a great example.
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I consider myself very fortunate.

The seafood is always fresh, the small business is family run, and the sellers show respect for the product. I always know what I am buying because the names of the fish are clearly displayed (From 30 October 2007, The Australian Fish Names Standard – a joint initiative by the seafood industry and the Commonwealth Government – has required vendors and restaurants to use correct, nationally uniform names for all fish). Sometimes their labels also inform the buyer where they have been caught; I also know that I can always ask information about all the fish I purchase.

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At my fish vendor’s, from the counter, I can easily see whole fish being cleaned and cut into saleable portions. As part of the service, when I buy whole fish, I am asked if I would like it filleted on the spot or the few bones removed from the fillets and I know I can request different cuts or ask to vary the size of the portions without feeling embarrassed. I could not wish for better service from all the staff.

The best seafood is fresh, local and what is in season.

My first choice is to select fish, which are not in danger of extinction – sustainable fish.

I do not buy frozen or imported seafood and I am also very fussy about aquaculture.

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How fish is caught is crucial to ecological sustainability. The most common methods of commercial fishing are trawling, dredging, netting and trapping – all of which can have considerable impact through the bycatch (other fish and marine life and non-target species). All trawling and dredging damage the seafloor and seabed habitats. Wild fish, line caught (hook and line method) is the preferred, least evasive method of fishing and if I want quality produce, and if I wish to encourage Australian fishers to use more sustainable methods of fishing, I am prepared to pay for it. This may not always mean that I can afford my first choice of fish, however, in spite of my fish vendor being a small business, I can always find a selection of sustainable fish from the better choice category (classification used in the publication, Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide, by the Australian Conservation Society – AMCS).

There are specific websites/resources listing sustainable seafood in different countries and fortunately buyers are beginning to take greater interest .

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snapper

 

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