Okay, admittedly, a lot of people don’t care for calamari. I think the biggest problem is that in a lot places, it’s not cooked correctly. If you’re served overcooked calamari, you may as well eat a plate of pencil erasers, because the taste is just about the same. So many places give you rubbery pieces that I can understand why people don’t like it. However, if you cook it correctly, it is incredibly tasty and a great treat. Heck, if my 11-year-old likes it, anybody will eat it. Here’s the rule I learned about squid – you either cook it for 2 minutes or 2 hours. Squid has to be cooked really quickly (it’s nearly impossible to undercook it) or it needs to braised for a longer period of time to make it tender.This is a great recipe that I came across in the New York Times yesterday that will make a great meal, and it doesn’t take long to cook at all. The polenta actually takes longer than the rest of the meal, but you can also use the quick-cook polenta, and that can be done is a little as 5 minutes.
Calamari With Herbs And Polenta
FOR THE POLENTA:
Salt to taste
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE CALAMARI:
1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
2 tablespoons chopped mint
A splash of white wine, about 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 tablespoons chopped scallions
Lemon wedges, optional
Cook the polenta. Bring 5 cups salted water to a boil in a small pot. Pour in the cornmeal, stirring with a whisk or wooden spoon until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Turn the flame to low and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 2 tablespoons butter, if using, and a little freshly ground pepper. Serve warm from the pot, or pour into a pan, allow to firm up and cut into wedges(this is what I am doing). Re-heat for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven.
Cut the squid bodies into 1/2-inch rings. Cut the tentacles in pieces or leave whole if small. Rinse, pat dry and season with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until the oil looks wavy. Carefully add the squid (it will spatter) and stir to coat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, marjoram and mint and cook, stirring all the while, for 1 minute, until the squid rings have puffed up and look opaque. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute more. Turn off the heat. Add the parsley and scallions and serve immediately with the accumulated pan juices and lemon wedges if desired.
If you don’t want to serve this with polenta, pasta or rice will go just as well with this dish. I would also serve this with some garlic bread and perhaps some sautéed spinach to round out the meal.
I had hoped to have next week’s meal plan in place already to post, but we’re still trying to decide on meals for a couple of the days, so I should have that tomorrow to post along with tomorrow’s dinner. I am planning to make a roast chicken, but I will vary the recipe a little from the one I have posted previously. If you would like to see the previous recipe for roast chicken, you can find it here. Also, if you would to make your own meal plan you can use this file:family_meal_planner. As always, if you have any questions, comments or recipes you would like to see, just let me know. Until tomorrow, enjoy your meal!