Friday, October 31, 2008

Calamari Stew

After waiting for weeks for my local overpriced grocery store to get in some whole squid, I finally caved and went to their other location in nearby Trail today, where I had seen the squid initially. After searching and eventually asking a member of the meat department's staff if they had any packages of frozen squid, I finally struck gold!

This is a dish I'd been wanting to make since I got Giada's Kitchen to review last month. It's super simple, quick, all made in one pot, and if you love calamari, you'll love this. It's also healthy and not terribly high in calories. I stayed true to the original recipe except I omitted the hot pepper flakes because I don't like them.

Calamari Stew by Giada de Laurentiis, adapted slightly by moi

3 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
2 cups dry white wine
2 (15oz/389mL) cans tomato sauce
2 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2lbs calamari, bodies thinly sliced, tentacles whole (be sure to remove the "spine" from the tubes; it's a clear boney thing that you don't want to eat; I assumed my squid had had this removed along with the innerds, but I was wrong, so I had to remove them myself. It's very easy; they just come free with a slight tug)

Warm olive oil over low heat in a medium pot. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently until fragrant - about 2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium. Slowly add the wine and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato sauce, thyme, and seasonings. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 8 minutes. Stir in the calamari and continue to cook just until the stew comes back to a simmer and the squid is opaque, about 2 more minutes.

I served myself with some toast made from my homemade bread.

This would have been utterly spectacular had I used a decent white wine. Since I don't actually drink wine (I never developed a taste for the stuff) I just take whatever happens to be either the cheapest at the liquor store or whatever my SIL has kicking around her kitchen. If I have leftovers, it hangs out in the fridge until I need it next, even if this means months or even a year. I never tasted the wine before I added it to the stew, though I did sniff it and it smelled winey. Well, must have been a because my stew tasted a little off and I know it was the wine. So, lesson learned: use fresh, decent wine.

And...I couldn't resist but be a bit cheeky when I was cutting up my calamari and goof off a bit with the squid tubes:

Yeah, play with your food for sure - from time to time!


Cherie said...

Ha! You crack me up playing with your food. Not a fan of squid, but you make it look tempting!

tshsmom said...

I have the same problem with white wine. My Mom drinks red wine, so I mooch from her if I need red wine in a recipe.

I solved my white wine problem by buying a 4-pack of small bottles. Each bottle holds about a cup of wine. This pack was the same price as one large bottle. No more large bottle taking up space in my fridge, or having it go bad by the next time I need it.

Calamari is about the only seafood that I don't like. It's too rubbery. Or maybe I haven't had any that's been cooked properly?

Wandering Coyote said...

Thanks, Cherie! I just couldn't resist the finger puppet!

Tshs: I've never seen wine sold in smaller four-packs...Mind you, I never go into liquor stores, either!

And yes, if calamari isn't cooked PROPERLY it does get rubbery. Mine IS cooked properly and is nice and tender!

Border Life said...

Yummy! I grew up by a seaside town, Mom used to get up at 4 or so and meet the boats on the wharf to grab up the freshest calamari, and to hunt out the females with eggs. I still get kinda queasy seeing the little buggers raw, but cooked and on a plate. FANTASTIC!

Border Life said...

I've never done it, but I hear freezing wine in ice cubes works...just make sure to use a good freezer bag and remove the air... don't know if you have done it and had success or heard if this does NOT work. would be interested on your take... my wine frequently turns to vinegar, which I do use to bring up tartness in some too sweet tomato sauces...

Wandering Coyote said...

BL: I've never heard of freezing wine like that...Excellent idea, though. I should give it a try sometime. I don't see why it wouldn't work...Thanks for the tip!


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