A gift from the ocean
Although it is uber popular and commonly found in countries like Italy and Spain, here in Australia we are also quite familiar with this food from the sea. It looks like an onion ring and has a texture similar to a rubber band but when cooked to perfection these little rings make for some fine eating. You might have already guessed it but were talking about Calamari which is essentially fried squid.
Bite-size battered and lightly fried is the most common way you'll find calamari cooked at your local RSL or Surf club. But the love Australians have for salt and pepper calamari means you can find it virtually anywhere, even some places in the outback. Its slightly sweet flavour and soft centre that's coated by a crispy exterior not only looks amazing when served with parsley and a wedge of lemon but tastes so fine. Calamari doesn't have a very strong or pungent taste or smell which means the things you can season and pair it with is huge. Commonly it is paired with lemon, parsley, salt and pepper, cocktail and tartare sauce, aioli and mayo and Moroccan seasoning.
Most commonly you'll find squid tubes that have been cleaned and prepped like these here so that all you need to do is slice it either from left to right widthwise to get gorgeous calamari rings or the tube can be split and flattened to make what is commonly called calamari steaks.
Even though it is usually fried calamari is known to be an excellent source of iron and protein. Calamari don't just have to be deep-fried, they do really well when sautéed, grilled, boiled or braised. No matter how you choose to cook calamari the key and single most important thing is to not to overcook them, which happens really fast. So, no ducking off to put a load of laundry on or checking the footy scores, calamari require your attention and a bit of TLC. Cook calamari either super quickly over a hot heat for no more than three minutes or very low and very slow for a long time like in a pasta or tomato sauce until tender. Anything in between will make the calamari come out tough and much like your household rubber band.
When cooked calamari at home a good habit to get into is scoring the calamari steaks in a diamond shaped pattern which helps to keep the steak flat and from curling over too much. When it comes to battering calamari a light and slightly runny batter works best and will give you the best crunch.
Jonos whipped up yet another dish that has us all drooling! When Jono does Saturday nights in he does them with class. This delish dish is made with squid ink pasta, calamari, chilli, garlic, parsley topped with amazing bottarga.