Bites & Pieces: Slow Squid

Squid has a lot going for it. The species grows rapidly and so is considered sustainable. It’s high in protein and low in fat. Well, at least until you bread it, deep fry it, and serve it with marinara sauce. As bar food goes, it’s a favorite of mine. The Carlyle in Shirlington has a particularly good version. My mother always has it when visiting town. One of the most interesting squid dishes I had was at the Green Street Grill in Cambridge, MA. It was made Provencal style with garlic and tomatoes. It was an eye opener and one of my favorite ways to make squid.

I wanted to do something different with the squid I bought at my favorite waterfront fish monger on Friday (Captain White’s). Squid can be tricky to cook as if you cook it for more than a minute or two, you may as well serve up a plate of rubber bands. There are various strategies to tenderize it, but it comes down to a fast cook. Turns out that squid shares a characteristics with some of my favorite cuts of beef. You can cook it fast, but you can also cook it slow. In the case of beef, the collagen gradually breaks down and a tough cut of meat becomes melt in your mouth tender. That didn’t happen with the squid, but it was tender and the recipe is easy enough for a weeknight meal.

I slightly adapted a recipe originally published in Gourmet, which can be found on the Epicurious web site.. NPR also has a story on slow cooked squid with some recipes that I plan to investigate in the near future.

The dish has a flavor I’ve never gotten out of squid before. I love linguini with clams or mussels for the flavor one gets out of the shellfish, but don’t really care for the meat. We served the dish over black rice. It’d be good with linguini as well. I think that one could add fennel or another root vegetable to the dish.

I adapted the Epicurious recipe slightly. The original recipe calls for cooking just the garlic and parsley, then adding the squid. I decided to cook some chopped onions with the parsley and then add the garlic. I used a can of chopped tomatoes; they suggested using whole tomatoes and chopping them. The original recipe calls for adding ¾ of a cup of wine and ¼ cup of water after adding the squid and simmering for 10 minutes to reduce the liquid. Then, add the tomatoes and simmer on the stove top for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. I wanted to make this a simple dish, so I added the wine and tomatoes together, brought it up to a simmer, and then braised the dish in the oven.

[Edit: I forgot that I added a teaspoon or two of capers to the dish as I thought they would fit and, well, I love capers.]

I had two half pound squid bodies rather than the pound and a half, but it was plenty for us. I cut them up into half inch squares, then rinsed, dried and coated them with olive oil. I thought that would give me more even cooking at the onset. They were about a quarter inch thick, so made good meaty bites. This would work well with smaller squid and I would encourage you to use the tentacles. Octopus might be good in this dish as well.

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds of squid, cleaned
1/4 cup minced onions or shallots
1 bunch of parsley, finely chopped
1 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional or use to taste)
½ cup of dry white wine
28 oz. can of chopped tomatoes

Method

Cut the squid bodies into pieces or rings. Combine with tentacles if you have them. Rinse and dry, then toss with olive oil to coat.

Once the squid is ready, it’s a good time to turn on the oven. I set mine at 350 degrees, but would probably use a lower temperature (perhaps 300) the next time.

Reserve 2 tablespoon of chopped parsley for garnish (which I forgot to use).

Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pot or dutch oven. Add the chopped onion and parsley and stir for a minute. Add garlic and stir for another minute. Create a small open space, pour in a little olive oil, and add the red chile flakes. Mix everything together and add the squid. Cook for a minute or two and then add the wine and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and then throw into the oven, uncovered. Cook until the water evaporates, about 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove from the oven and serve over pasta or rice. Garnish with parsley.

BB

Morning Report – The Great Rotation? 02/04/13

Vital Statistics: 

  Last Change Percent
S&P Futures  1503.0 -3.7 -0.25%
Eurostoxx Index 2679.2 -30.9 -1.14%
Oil (WTI) 96.79 -1.0 -1.00%
LIBOR 0.296 0.000 0.00%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 79.45 0.325 0.41%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.03% 0.01%  
RPX Composite Real Estate Index 193.1 0.0  

Markets are weaker on the back of big declines in the Italian and Spanish bourses. Euro sovereign yields are starting to tick back up. There doesn’t seem to be a story out there driving it. 

As the bond market has backed up, there is a lot of talk about whether this is the big rotation out of bonds and into stocks. Within the bond market, there is a rotation out of Treasuries and into high yield. Overall, the “risk on” trade seems to be gaining steam, which means we have seen the low point for mortgage rates. It also means that the private label market might come back.

Obama wants more revenue, specifically through reducing loopholes and deductions. I don’t know if this is posturing for the sequestration cuts or something else. Liberals are using the negative Q4 GDP report to argue that we can’t cut spending. That is simplistic – Q3 government spending was higher than normal due to the government’s “use it or lose it” budgeting. The government’s fiscal year ends in September, and there is always a push to spend your budget, even if you don’t really need it, to ensure your budget doesn’t get cut. Which means that Q4’s government spending was borrowed in Q3. Obama is being a little disingenuous when he says things like “The big problem was defense spending was cut 22 percent, the biggest drop in 40 years.” which implies we are already cutting to the bone. He is in favor of “smart spending reductions,” whatever that means, to bring down the deficit.  I suspect the only smart spending reductions he favors are the Orwellian-named “tax expenditures” and oil subsidies.  And don’t forget, the definition of what is considered a spending cut depends greatly on what the baseline is when you start counting. Many in Washington prefer to use the baseline from when spending was the highest (late 2010) as the baseline, project spending out 10 years from there, and count any difference between the old projection and the new projection as a “spending cut.”

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