This may sound strange but…I don’t like squid. An abruptly sweeping announcement coming from someone who prides herself on being a rabid omnivore, but there you have it. We all have our idiosyncrasies I suppose. Squid and “loose” mince being mine (I have an unexplainable aversion to mince if not shaped into a ball, patty, or loaf -- meaning I eat neither this nor this, not matter how much my family loves them). But this blog post has room for only one eccentricity so let’s save mince for another time.
So…squid. I can’t really put my finger on why or when this bête noire started. I am guessing though that is has something (a great big something) to do with how easily squid can be bungled. Err a little in judgment and you’ve got tough pieces of rubber on your plate. In fact, there is only one squid dish in this whole city that I will voluntarily order. This may seem, actually is, grossly unfair – to lump all squid for all time just because of that reason, which is no fault of the poor cephalopod – so I’ve been working towards being on friendlier terms with them.
Two things, I think, brought about my, I wouldn’t say conversion, but my willingness to explore the world of squid further. The first was tasting one fresh out of the water, raw, still with a luminous translucence – such soft sweetness, with a hint of the sea where it was swimming just moments before. The other was actually preparing them for our first paella – compared to deveining shrimp and gutting fish, cleaning squid was so easy and clean (if you are careful with the ink sack that is)!
Now all I needed was a way to prepare them that wouldn’t send me back into my squid averse days…
Lemon Garlic Squid
- Olive oil
- 300 grams squid
- 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
- 1 lemon, sliced in half
- Sea salt
- Prepare the squid. I like to clean and prep my squid like Jamie Oliver does his. I do it as for grilling /frying , but then cut it into strips. It never comes out quite as expertly as his does, I really do need to brush up on my scoring skills, but I stubbornly insist on trying. Of course, you can prepare them however you wish and that will do just fine and I promise not to tell Jamie.
- Heat a couple of generous swirls of olive oil in a skillet. You want a nice thin layer of oil that lines the bottom of the pan.
- When the oil is hot add the garlic and let this sizzle for a bit – let the garlic soften but not get too toasted.
- Add the squid and let them cook, while shaking the pan back and forth (yes, like they do on tv…it feels fantastic!), until opaque and curled. This happens in under a minute so watch it! Do not overcook the squid or you will end up with sad bits of rubber.
- When the squid just starts to curl toss in the parsley, some salt, and keep shaking (the pan, not you…although you can go ahead and shimmy along if the mood takes you).
- As soon as the squid is done, right after it’s gone opaque and curly, take it off the heat and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon. Swirl the pan as the lemon juice sizzles to mix. Check and adjust seasoning. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top.
- Serve immediately with the other half of the lemon for anyone who would like a squeeze or two more.
If you pay attention not to overcook this, which is not a difficult thing to do, I think this is an ideal dish to try your hand at squid cooking. Fast, easy (oh-so easy!), and delicious. The flavors are simple and clean and complement the squid nicely without overpowering it. Once you’re done with prepping your squid the whole thing comes together in mere seconds. This is perfect with some crusty bread to mop up the juices. You can also toss it with pasta for a light, bright, summery lunch. If you’d like some spice, add a chili or some chili flakes to the pan when you do the garlic.
I love it when I am able to conquer a food I once had issues with. Feels like opening a whole new pathway of discovery. Squid, here I come! :)