calamari & pesto

At it again, this time with a camera in hand. There’s still an issue with lighting, but I suppose we’ll work out the kinks soon enough.

Now I have to be honest, I’m not a fan of calamari. In fact, if we’re being honest I find it kind of gross. It has this rubbery texture, it smells fishy, and it looks like a forgotten alien.
The alien part is true enough, but as for the other two, as it turns out, I just haven’t been eating good calamari. Go figure.

It was decided today (by Mel of course), that I would need to go out of my comfort zone and experience something new. He has a big thing for seafood and often refers to it as the “fruit of the sea”. I always find it creepy when he says it, but at the same time I can see what he means. Water is the source of life & all that jazz.

So, clearly against my will, calamari was the menu item of choice today. To be more specific, we made a calamari & pesto starter. apparently it’s very common in Italy.

Ingredients:
– 250g fresh home-made pesto*
– 3 tbs home-made mayo*
– 500g calamari, washed & cleaned
– 1 large tomato
– 1 shot of good quality ouzo
– 200g tapioca flour (can substitute 100g corn flour & 100g all-purpose flour)
– 4 cups (or more) olive oil

Instructions:
– mix the pesto sauce & the mayo in a bowl and set aside.
– puree the tomato in a blender & then using a pan, cook on medium heat until it thickens, approx. 5 minutes. Set aside.
– after the calamari has been washed & cleaned (will explain “cleaned” under ‘helpful techniques’), cut all of it into thin strips lengthwise. Approx 3-4mm.
– divide the cut calamari into two portions.
– with the first portion, coat with the tapioca flour, dust off the excess & spread out.
– with the second half, heat a large skillet to high heat, add 2 tbs of oil & saute the calamari for 4 minutes.
– whilst still on the heat, add the ouzo and continue to cook until the alcohol has evaporated (1-2 minutes).
– remove from the heat & add 3-4 tbs of the pesto sauce to the mix. Once incorporated, transfer to a serving bowl.
– with the other half of the calamari, bring a medium-large pot of oil to high heat & transfer the calamari into it a little at a time so that it does not clump together. Continue to fry until light brown & crispy.
– transfer the hot calamari to some paper towel to allow the excess oil to drain. Once drained, it can be added on top of the sautéed calamari in the serving dish.
– add the tomato around the edge of the dish, & serve hot.

This dish at the end surprised even me. I had turned my nose up at Mel when he made the suggestion for this dish. Never in my right mind would I have thought that pesto sauce and this creepy creature would go well together. As it turns out, I’m capable of being wrong.

As for the images, I will add them tomorrow since the computer I’m currently using is old and seems to be protesting the meer idea of even trying to connect to my camera. In the mean time, here are a couple helpful hints about todays recipe. We’ll try to add one or two with each edition so as to make life easier.

Helping techniques:
1. Pesto sauce is added at the end of the cooking process due to the basil being delicate in nature & will lose its intensity if heated too much.
2. Cleaning the calamari can be a somewhat disturbing & tedious process. If your local fish monger offers this service, take them up on it. Should they not however, here is how it’s done. Grab the head of the calamari & separate it from the body. Once removed, the rest of the internal ‘bits’ need to be fished out using your hand, taking care not to break the inner cartilage that runs along the inside. To remove the cartilage, feel for edge and try to carefully pull it out in one, slow movement. If you want to be extra thorough, you can carefully remove the brown outer layer of skin to expose the clean white meat underneath.

* we’ll include this recipe at a later date.

….for more recipes from us, check out our archives here.

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3 thoughts on “calamari & pesto

  1. YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I LOOOOOve calamari and I can’t wait to taste this…….
    when are you making it again????

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