Hooks for Cooks™

On Friday afternoon, I headed up to my Central Market. It’s my favorite grocery store in the neighborhood and I shop there often, practically daily. I noticed that the fish counter looked really good that day. calamari1

The fish department is quite large at Central and they offer an enourmous selection–live oysters, clams, Dungeness crabs and lobster stored in holding tanks, plus a vast selection of fish from local and foreign waters. The list goes on and on.

While mooching around the counters, I ordered a one-half pound center cut fillet of Wild Alaska sockeye and some Ahi tuna. I then noticed the squid. I have jigged for squid right here in the Puget Sound, and my kids love squid fried up into calamari.

We’ve made it many times over the years and have even served it to a crowd of adolescent girls at one birthday party held in our home. Surprisingly, the partygoers devoured it and asked for more. They often still talk about that squid and now proudly report that they order calamari whenever it appears on a restaurant menu.

On Friday, I noticed Central’s squid was fresh, uncleaned, and from California. I hadn’t planned on cleaning and cooking the cephalopods this weekend but, at $4.99 a pound, I also couldn’t resist them either. So, I ordered a little over half a pound and shoved the package in the fridge when I got home.

We didn’t get to the critters on Friday night and by Saturday night, I’d lost my enthusiam…I’d spent a good chunk of the morning making jam and wasn’t interested in wrestling with tentacles and squirting ink.

Luckily, my husband took over and managed to create some of the best calamari we’ve ever had. After he dequilled and deinked each squid, Chris sliced the body into rings and tossed that with the tentacles in a little breading. Rather than frying the squid in the house, we grabbed a cast iron skillet and heated the oil on the burner on our outdoor gas grill. Squid needs to be cooked quickly in order to avoid being rubbery. So, we watched it carefully. After being fried for a minute or so, Christopher’s calamari was ready and it was outstanding. Our best yet.

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