Squid can take some getting used to, taste and texturewise. One of the best ways to become acclimated with this seafood classic is trying it as calamari. No, not those overly salty rings that most sports bars sell, but a light crispy kind There are other ways to enjoy them as well from stuffed to roasted.
David Tanis devoted his entire A City Kitchen column to them in yesterday's New York Times Food section. Most people have only had squid cut into rings , then battered dipped and fried.This calamari is usually dipped into a strongly spiced marinara sauce, masking the sea creature's flavor. The best intro to squid as Mr. Tanis recommends is an Italian restaurant with it being part of a fritto misto. there it will have a light, almost tempura like coating and be served with only fresh lemon and salt. Surprisingly enough Thai restaurants also offer squid but it is usually stir fried and spiced up with ginger and chile peppers.Baby squid can be fried whole as they do in Spain These are called chipirones and they're are like an elegant cousin to calamari.Neophytes should buy fresh squid, ones with a fresh ocean scent with a shiny, plump bodies They shouldn't be flat or deflated. Also they come with a purplish gray membrane or hood that can be removed.
Home chefs should start with simple recipes first. Squid can be roasted in the oven with a bit of olive oil and garlic.This is easy , with the squid being cut and laid flat on a roasting pan.It can also be braised in either a hearty tomato or red wine sauce.The fish can also be stewed in is' own ink and serve over rice as a paella nero or black rice. Mr. Tanis gives a Sicilian classic calamari ripiene or stuffed squid.It is filled with a savory bread crumb filling that he punches up with the addition of chard, fennel anchovy pecorino and pine nuts. Fennel seeds and oregano are what give the stuffing and squid an nice herbal taste. You can use toothpicks to keep the stuffing in but it really isn't necessary. Mr. Tanis als recommends getting the tentacles too , as these are good roasted.A good drink with it is Etna Bianco a crisp Sicilian white wine or even a good sherry.
Home chefs should be introduced to this versatile sea creature. It can be made a variety of different ways from the crispy calamari to stuffed with herbs and bread crumbs. Serve it this season for something tasty and out of the ordinary.