January 18, 2011

Tomato Braised Calamari

When it comes to cooking squid, I'd always heard that you cook it for either 1 minute or 1 hour. Anything in between makes the meat rubbery as hell....and yes, that's a technical culinary term. I often wonder if restaurants have ever heard this rule, because the calamari I order out is often way too chewy. I guess that's why I've always been hesitant to try making any kind of squid at home; it seemed nearly impossible to perfect.

Then again, I'd also heard that if you braise squid for an hour or so that it becomes meltingly tender. I've wanted to try that for years & finally got around to it over the holidays. I bought a box of whole, frozen squid from Bob's Seafood in St. Louis, and Jerad & I learned how to clean the squid by watching YouTube videos.

Jerad did all the cleaning because I was kind of grossed out.

We braised the meat in a smoky & spicy tomato sauce, which we ate with lots of crusty French bread for dipping. This, with a couple bottles of red wine, was our Christmas dinner.

I can see also making this to serve over pasta as well. So good! And since we have some squid left in the freezer, I'm going to try braising it in a white wine & garlic butter sauce.

Tomato Braised Calamari
adapted from Vanilla Basil

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large cloves garlic, minced
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon freshly ground coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 pound calamari, cleaned & cut into rings
  • In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic & cook gently, without browning, just until fragrant. 
  • Add the tomatoes, wine, tomato paste & seasonings. Bring to a simmer. Add the squid.
  • Simmer over medium-low heat (uncovered) for about an hour. The squid should be melt-in-your-mouth tender when it's done, and the sauce should have reduced & thickened. Taste for seasoning.
  • Serve in bowls with plenty of crusty French bread for dipping.

1 comment:

Kitchen Riffs said...

I’ve shied away from cooking squid because I’ve also heard the 1 minute or 1 hour rule. But braising is a great way to go, and this sounds delicious. This recipe reads really well – by which I mean, the list of ingredients sounds really balanced (all the flavors complement each other). I particularly like the idea of using it as a pasta sauce, which is how I’ll probably make it.