Calamari

Many restaurants serve calamari with marinara

Why would anyone eat squid anyway? This may seem a mystery to many, but around the world squid is prized in a variety of dishes. Take stuffed squid, which pops up in Greece, Italy, Vietnam, Spain, even the Food Network’s Alton Brown has a recipe.

Mark Bittman, author of the culinary tome, How to Cook Everything (seriously, if you send me a wedding invitation, this will be your present along with a cast iron pan) points out a few reasons we should be eating more squid, “[its] inexpensive, low in fat, easy to cook, and great to eat…I’ve been a squid fan for fifteen years and still love it.” And he’s not talking fried calamari here (in fact, he doesn’t even include a recipe for it).

But he also points out why some cooks might give up on squid–”the timing is a bit tricky and can be summed up like this: ‘Cook squid for two minutes or two hours.’”

One of my new favorite culinary gurus, Jeff Potter author of Cooking for Geeks, makes the same comment–”You either cook it for a few minutes or an hour.” I prefer the few minutes method. When I cook squid, I think of timing as I would small shrimp–quick cook to keep it tender. I’ll have to experiment with the slow cooking method later.

Here’s a fast, easy recipe for Squid Bruschetta courtesy of Jeff Potter.

Ingredients

1 loaf Italian bread

1 pound squid

1 cup diced tomato (seeds removed)

1 Tablespoon fresh herbs, such as oregano or parsley (I’d use basil too)

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Ground pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Prepare the Italian bread by cutting in 1/2″ slices and lightly coat both sides with olive oil. Toast the bread. Potter recommends doing this with the broiler, the pan set 4 to 6 inches from the heat source. Flip when they start to just turn golden. Alternatively, heat your oven to 400 degrees and cook unto crisped. Keep the bread warm in the oven while you prepare the bruschetta.
  2. Rinse, clean and prepare the squid. You can slice it into bite-sized pieces or take Potter’s advice and just use your kitchen scissors.
  3. Over medium-high heat, add a small amount of olive oil to a saute pan. The bottom of the pan should be just coated with oil. Quickly cook the squid first. Watch for the squid to turn white and then cook for just 30 seconds longer. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper to the pan and toss. (I’d also throw in a few red pepper flakes and lemon zest to add a little zing.)
  4. Serve the squid with the toasted bread.

And if you’d like to see Potter cook it up in person. Take a look at this video from how2heroes.com

*Tomorrow squid continues–and finishes up–with a recipe and video and recipe from Tom Osborne, an educator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

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