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Cook-Off 62: Squid, Calamari and Octopus

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#61 fvandrog

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 02:45 AM

Something tart, like not-over-ripe mango or pineapple, or citrus would probably be good, and not too overwhelming. Tomatoes, too (if you're willing to regard them as fruit), although you've already been there.

 

Indeed, something tart sounds the most suitable. I was thinking about rhubarb, which allegedly you can cook sous-vide resulting in an visually attractive dish.



#62 huiray

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 08:00 AM

Chillies are also fruits. :smile:

Perhaps what the question should be is whether "culinary dessert fruits" can be used.  As differentiated from how tomatoes are vegetables in the culinary sense as it has been ruled. :wink:



#63 David Ross

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 03:03 PM

Something tart, like not-over-ripe mango or pineapple, or citrus would probably be good, and not too overwhelming. Tomatoes, too (if you're willing to regard them as fruit), although you've already been there.

 
Indeed, something tart sounds the most suitable. I was thinking about rhubarb, which allegedly you can cook sous-vide resulting in an visually attractive dish.
That could be interesting, but I'm trying to think of the textures. Would soft rhubarb stand up to the texture of octopus? I suppose you could use the rhubarb as a sauce. And I wonder how the tart flavor would work with the octopus. If anyone has tried this I'd like to see your results.

#64 FrogPrincesse

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 03:11 PM

How about pomegranate for the acid? There are some examples in the EatYourBooks database (you can search by ingredients and it's a great source of inspiration!). See recipe here.


Edited by FrogPrincesse, 14 March 2013 - 03:20 PM.


#65 nickrey

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 03:31 PM

I'm reposting this from the dinner thread (this link).

 

Calamari stuffed with Chorizo. Cooked sous vide for three hours at 59C. Chilled in ice bath. Reheated following day and then seared on all sides in a hot frypan.

Chorizo stuffed calamari.jpg

 

 


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#66 David Ross

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:03 PM

I'm reposting this from the dinner thread (this link).
 
Calamari stuffed with Chorizo. Cooked sous vide for three hours at 59C. Chilled in ice bath. Reheated following day and then seared on all sides in a hot frypan.

attachicon.gifChorizo stuffed calamari.jpg

Looks delicious. Do you think the sous vide helped tenderize the calamari?

#67 nickrey

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:24 PM

I'm reposting this from the dinner thread (this link).
 
Calamari stuffed with Chorizo. Cooked sous vide for three hours at 59C. Chilled in ice bath. Reheated following day and then seared on all sides in a hot frypan.

attachicon.gifChorizo stuffed calamari.jpg

Looks delicious. Do you think the sous vide helped tenderize the calamari?

It works well to tenderise it.

 

I'm going to do up some marinated calamari soon and plan on cooking the rings sous vide before adding the marinade.


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#68 OliverB

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:34 PM

this is kind of timely, I just today thought of an octopus I have in the freezer, and recently read about cooking them Sous Vide! I'm sure I ate octopus sometime somewhere, but honestly can't remember, I don't go out to eat much (big part of fun with food to me is making it, if I go out I pay somebody else to have fun, no fair! ;-)

Anybody got a great recipe/technique to share for a whole octopus cooked SV and then - don't know a quick fry, bbq, nothing? Was an impulse buy at the farmers market fish monger last year. Vac sealed and frozen that day, I'm sure it's just fine. Ready to play with it!


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#69 David Ross

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 02:20 PM

Tonight I'm doing my version of deep-fried calamari. It's a lot of work to clean and cut the squid when you consider they're only in the deep-fryer for less than 2 minutes. But it's worth it.

#70 Bjs229

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 04:55 PM

Ok, it's tedious as hell stuffing these.  
 
I'm just keepin' it real.



A pastry bag works well.

#71 David Ross

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Posted 15 March 2013 - 07:22 PM

After the abysmal failure with the horrific grilled octopus salad, I thought I'd bring it back home for the next dish using a technique I'm fairly good at--deep-frying.

As I mentioned in one of my opening posts, we often associate deep-fried calamari as a staple of bar menus--poor renditions of pre-breaded, frozen bits whose primary asset is that it's deep-fried in fat. It's crunchy, greasy and basically bereft of any seafood flavor--and people can't get enough of the stuff.

For my deep-fried calamari I used the whole squid I got at the fishmonger. (As I mentioned earlier, I try to avoid the pre-cleaned, pre-cut, frozen calamari at the supermarket. In the case of calamari, I've found convenience doesn't result in a flavorful dish).

I use a three-step breading process for most deep-frying--flour, liquid, flour. But I change-up the liquid and third "dip" in the flour depending on what I'm deep-frying.

In this case, the first dip was to coat the squid rings and tentacles in all-purpose flour. No seasoning in dip #1, just flour.

For dip #2, I used evaporated milk. It has a thicker consistency than whole milk and a touch of sweetness. After dip #1 in flour, the squid goes into dip #2, creating the "glue" for the final dip #3, another dry coating.

Dip #3 was a blend of 1 cup of potato flour, 1/4 cup cornstarch and a tablespoon of Old Bay. I use potato flour for a lot of deep-fried seafood. It gives the seafood a classic potato flavor and the fine mill of the flour lends a lighter crunch than all-purpose flour. The cornstarch also adds crunch and of course, Old Bay gives the classic fish fry flavor.

It's a bit of a messy process because you have to constantly keep sifting the pieces so they don't stick together. A very large mesh basket helps with sifting the pieces of squid. Then once the three dips are completed, I put the calamari into my deep-fryer filled with canola oil heated to 350. It takes about 2 minutes of deep-frying for it to get golden and crispy. It turned out very tender and the flavor of the squid really came through. It wasn't just a mass of fried flour bits.

I served the calamari simply with a dash of salt, pepper and lemon juice. No sauce.
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I've also used this method for deep-fried salt and pepper squid. I omit the Old Bay in the flour mixture in dip #3 and substitute a good dose of salt, black pepper and just a small hint of ground Szechuan peppercorns for a bit more spice and aroma.

#72 rotuts

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 05:40 AM

looks tasty   :biggrin:



#73 David Ross

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 06:04 AM

The chickpeas have been soaking overnight and tonight I'll be using them in a dish where squid is more of a side element rather than the main star of a dish. Not deep-fried this time but flash-fried in a hot skillet paired with a sauce made from the beans and a seared fish filet.

#74 David Ross

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 06:36 PM

My next squid dish was an adaptation of a recipe from Chef Alain Ducasse's "Flavors of France," Fillet of Cod with White Bean Puree and Baby Squid.

I've made this dish many times in the past and for the Cook-Off I wanted to show how squid can be an accompaniment in a seafood dish. The cooking of this dish actually started last week, but I wasn't totally satisfied with the results. Over the course of the past week I made some changes to the recipe and made a second attempt tonight.

The recipe calls for using dried Great Northern beans, soaked overnight, then cooked the next day for 1 ½ hours with celery, carrot, onion and garlic. After the beans are cooked they are steeped in olive oil, rosemary, sage and some of the bean cooking liquid. Then the herbs and vegetables are taken out and the beans are pureed and passed through a sieve, leaving you with a silky bean puree.

On the first attempt I used canned cannellini beans rather than start with dried beans. I didn't follow the Ducasse recipe exactly in terms of cooking the beans since they were canned, and I put chopped herbs into the bean puree rather than letting them steep in the beans. After processing the beans I used them "rustic" rather than passing them through a sieve for a smoother puree.

The beans were fairly bland and the thick puree wasnt very photogenic. Ducasse calls for adding a touch of sherry vinegar to the beans, but I substituted red wine vinegar. Not a great alternate because red wine vinegar doesnt have the depth of flavor that sherry vinegar has.

Instead of cod I used sea scallops, thinking the rich, buttery flavor would work well with the bean sauce. The scallops were too rich and buttery for the mild squid and the scallops over-powered the delicate bean puree. Taking a cue from an earlier post, I sautéed some dry Spanish chorizo to make a chorizo oil. The thought was to add a bit of smokiness and color to the dish. While I think chorizo oil can work incredibly well when paired with seafood, in this case, the smoke didnt balance with the beans, the acid of the vinegar, the chew of the squid and the rich flavor of the scallops. It was a dish with good intentions and some separate elements that were quite good, but it just didnt come together as one.

Seared Sea Scallop with White Bean Puree and Baby Squid-
016.JPG

Now on to the second attempt.........

#75 David Ross

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 07:42 PM

For the second version of Ducasse's dish, I made some big changes-

Sometimes I do the dish with cod and in the past I did it with Chilean Sea Bass. I don't buy Chilean Sea Bass any longer due to sustainability issues, and I really didn't want to use cod. A bit boring I thought. Then on a lark I stopped at Trader Joe's and I found this elusive fish in the freezer case:
011.JPG

In the Northwest we regard "Black Cod" as highly as the mighty salmon, dungeness and king crabs. The chi-chi name is "sablefish," but whatever you call it is a superior fish--oily, firm flesh and lends itself to a variety of cooking methods. I typically smoke it and serve it in a shallow dish with an Asian soup. Black Cod is also delicious marinated in Alaskan Brewing smoked porter and then slowly braised and served with steamed bok choy. Although it was frozen, I couldn't thank Trader Joe's enough. It's rare that we see black cod fresh even when it's in season.
020.JPG

Instead of going with Great Northern beans this time I used dried garbanzo beans. We always called them garbanzo's when I was a kid, but I suppose that "chickpea" sounds a little more contemporary. My thinking was that garbanzo's would be more flavorful than Great Northern beans, (certainly more flavorful than canned), and I'd still be within the French-Medittereanean theme of the Ducasse dish. I considered the flavor of the beans to be more compatible with the black cod and squid.

The beans take time, starting with a soak overnight in water. Then on day two you cook the beans for 1 1/2 hours in a pot of water, carrot, onion, celery and unpeeled garlic cloves. Once the beans are tender, step three calls for steeping herbs in the beans off the heat. You don't drain the beans or remove the vegetables at this point, just add the herbs and some olive oil and let it sit off the heat about an hour. The beans pick up just a whisper of the scent of the herbs. Step four calls for processing the beans into a paste and adding only the bean water to thin the sauce. Then the fifth step is to pass the rough puree through a fine sieve. Finally, just before service you heat up the bean puree and season and add a dash of olive oil. I reserved some of the whole garbanzo beans for the garnish. I followed the steps in the recipe fairly strictly this time and the results were evident--a smooth, silky bean puree with pure flavor, (not the diluted flavor of canned beans).

The recipe calls for adding a dash of sherry wine vinegar to the bean puree, but this time I took a turn and made a syrup from this wonderful product-
008.JPG

Since I wasn't adding the tang of vinegar to the beans, my intention was to use the blood orange balsamic as a garnish but provide the sour boost of vinegar to cut the rich bean sauce and the oil in the black cod. I didn't want to just swig runny vinegar on the fish and the squid, so I reduced it into a syrup, a technique I often use to reduce the acid of the vinegar and bring out the sweetness. The reduced sweet and sour syrup had notes of orange and citrus which married beautifully to the richer elements of the dish.

The squid was flash-fried in a hot pan in olive oil for no more than 20 seconds, then tossed in fresh lemon juice. In this dish, the squid adds texture and flavor while staying within the theme of "seafood," and letting the black cod take the centerstage.

Although it took a week and the dish underwent some major changes, it was worth the time. Clams could work as the garnish to the black cod, maybe mussels, possibly oysters. But those creatures don't have the texture, delicate flavor and stunning presentation showed by squid.

Sablefish with Seared Squid, Chickpea Puree and Blood Orange Balsamic Syrup-
021.JPG

#76 heidih

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:22 PM

I have never had takoyaki the Japanese octopus fritter ball. We have topic about it here. Has anyone ever tried making it?

Yes this is a "cook-off" but sometimes the pre-prepped product is a good starting point. I will try to pick up some octopus and cuttlefish sold ready to eat from the Korean market this week to share.



#77 David Ross

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 08:47 PM

I have never had takoyaki the Japanese octopus fritter ball. We have topic about it here. Has anyone ever tried making it?
Yes this is a "cook-off" but sometimes the pre-prepped product is a good starting point. I will try to pick up some octopus and cuttlefish sold ready to eat from the Korean market this week to share.

That would be great. I've always been intrigued by those little octopus balls, but I've never been adventurous enough to try it.

#78 David Ross

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 04:43 PM

If I did a Paella with squid or octopus I assume it goes into the rice at the last minute? Would you add other seafood/meat to the paella?

#79 Steve Irby

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Posted 18 March 2013 - 06:45 PM

David beautiful job on that sablefish and with this cook-off. Really enjoyed the cured fish thread also.  Is the batter that you used for the fried squid what you use with other fried items?



#80 David Ross

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:34 PM

David beautiful job on that sablefish and with this cook-off. Really enjoyed the cured fish thread also.  Is the batter that you used for the fried squid what you use with other fried items?

Thanks for the great question and I'm glad you enjoy our cook-offs. The steps I used for the deep-fried calamari are the same basic steps I use for deep-frying other seafood-
1. Seasoned all-purpose flour. (Usually just salt and pepper for the
seasoning).
2. Evaporated milk.
3. Mix of potato flour and cornstarch and seasoning. (Usually more salt,
pepper and then a good dose of Old Bay seasoning).
4. Into hot oil, (usually canola oil), at 350.

I sometimes change the mix of #3, substituting finely milled corn flour for the potato flour. The potato flour is really good for large filets for fish and chips. The corn flour lends sweetness and flavor for deep-frying clams, oysters and calamari, and the cornstarch extra crispiness.

I never thought of venturing out by using different types and mixes of flours for deep-frying until a few years ago, but it adds a whole different dimension in terms of flavor and texture. You have the flexibility to match the flour to the specific flavor and texture profile of the seafood.

Deep-frying meats is a whole different matter in my kitchen and I don't use the same flour mix as I do for seafood.

#81 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 01:26 AM

This morning I woke up early with grand plans to catch squid. I mean, nothing's more eGullet HarcoreTM than truly adopting the paddock pier-to-plate mantra, is there? >_> benthescientist came along too. We had no luck, tho', and on the way home I bought some squid as I really wanted to try making calamari rings. I dusted them with flour and some Japanese seven spice powder. They were dunked into a batter made with flour, corn flour, water and vodka. They were deep fried for ~3 minutes in ~180C sunflower oil.

 

For a first attempt I guess they're okay. I haven't produced rubber bands or anything. The second batch (same recipe) is superior to the first. I'm wondering if this is because--I think, anyway--the oil was a little hotter (i.e. had crept over 180C).


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#82 David Ross

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 06:47 AM

This morning I woke up early with grand plans to catch squid. I mean, nothing's more eGullet HarcoreTM than truly adopting the paddock pier-to-plate mantra, is there? >_> benthescientist came along too. We had no luck, tho', and on the way home I bought some squid as I really wanted to try making calamari rings. I dusted them with flour and some Japanese seven spice powder. They were dunked into a batter made with flour, corn flour, water and vodka. They were deep fried for ~3 minutes in ~180C sunflower oil.
 
For a first attempt I guess they're okay. I haven't produced rubber bands or anything. The second batch (same recipe) is superior to the first. I'm wondering if this is because--I think, anyway--the oil was a little hotter (i.e. had crept over 180C).

First off, congratulations on your intrepid spirit in venturing out to catch live squid. Of all the cook-offs I've moderated, that has to be a first.

I think the temperature of the oil sounds right. Oil that's much hotter than 180c (356f), is too hot in my experience. Did you feel that the calamari wasn't crispy enough? I'm wondering if somehow the alcohol in the vodka created some kind of reaction during deep-frying that softened the end result? Any experts out there?

#83 Keith_W

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 07:33 AM

Hi David, alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. Also, alcohol does not wet the flour as much as water, and therefore promotes less gluten formation. For these reasons, batters made with high amounts of alcohol tend to be more crispy than batters made with plain water. Heston Blumenthal at Home gives a recipe for battered fish with the batter made with vodka and dispensed through an ISI whipper. I have attempted this recipe and it results in the lightest, crispiest batter you have ever seen.

As for why Chris' second batch turned out better than the first, there are all sorts of variables. If he failed to monitor the temperature of the oil, as he suggested, this could cause the result to be different. Also, if the batter was initially cold and then warmed to room temperature for the second batch, this will lower the viscosity of the batter - therefore less batter sticks to the squid rings. He may or may not have preferred this result.

I am not surprised that Chris failed to catch any squid, because they tend to be more of a cold water species and are best found between May - September in Australia.
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#84 David Ross

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 08:09 AM

Hi David, alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. Also, alcohol does not wet the flour as much as water, and therefore promotes less gluten formation. For these reasons, batters made with high amounts of alcohol tend to be more crispy than batters made with plain water. Heston Blumenthal at Home gives a recipe for battered fish with the batter made with vodka and dispensed through an ISI whipper. I have attempted this recipe and it results in the lightest, crispiest batter you have ever seen.

As for why Chris' second batch turned out better than the first, there are all sorts of variables. If he failed to monitor the temperature of the oil, as he suggested, this could cause the result to be different. Also, if the batter was initially cold and then warmed to room temperature for the second batch, this will lower the viscosity of the batter - therefore less batter sticks to the squid rings. He may or may not have preferred this result.

I am not surprised that Chris failed to catch any squid, because they tend to be more of a cold water species and are best found between May - September in Australia.

Thanks for all the info. I'll remember that next time I do some deep-frying. Great tips.

#85 David Ross

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 11:22 AM

For my next dish I did a version of Jose Andres "Smoky Paella with Shrimp and Squid." It was a good starting point for a paella novice. As I move through my squid dishes, I've found that it's a great addition to seafood dishes. It adds texture and a mild flavor, and this paella without the squid would not have had that extra dimension.

Always tinkering with recipes, I made a few variations from Andres instructions:
-He calls for "large shrimp," and I used frozen, "jumbo prawns." I knew they probably wouldn't be great, but that's all I could find. I preferred whole body, head-on prawns, but the frozen ones I can find locally are mush. Unfortunately I don't live in a city where I have access to live shrimp or fresh langoustines. So I was left with fairly tasteless thawed, farm-raised prawns.

-Andres says you can substitute arborio rice for Valencia. I haven't cooked enough paella so I don't know the difference and I can buy arborio rice locally.

-The recipe calls for 1 tsp. of hot smoked paprika. I was still aching to use the beautiful dried Spanish chorizo I had, so I added about 3/4 cup of chopped chorizo in addition to the smoked paprika. Probably not something I would do next time. The chorizo was overly-salty and the combination of smoked paprika powder and the heavy amount of smoked paprika in the chorizo over-powered the seafood and the delicate taste and aroma of the saffron in the dish.
002.JPG

-I added fresh Mussels from Puget Sound on the West side of the state. In the end, I could have eliminated the prawns and just used mussels and squid and it would have been a delicious paella.
006.JPG

-I don't have a paella pan, so I used my old deep, cast iron skillet. My naivete as to the specific type of rice used in paella spills over to the cooking vessel. The cast iron skillet worked fine, but I'm not in tune with the results that come from using an authentic Spanish pan.
023.JPG

-This is an easy and quick recipe and you don't have to fuss much with the mussels and squid. Just place the seafood on top of the hot rice and let it cook until the squid is just done and the mussels open.
026.JPG

#86 heidih

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:19 PM

In serious need of comfort food today I grabbed some calamari steaks to be marinated and broiled. (The indulgent comfort liner being KFC slaw and baked from frozen extra crunchy crinkle cut fries served w/ horseradish mayo and sriracha) Here is the roughly cut steak ready to be marinated 2 ways. One batch will be Korean hot bean paste, sesame oil, pickled ginger, fresh tangerine juice, walnut oil and soy sauce. The other will be garlic, olive oil, lemon juice & zest and some fresh basil which I did not get in the shot. I don't think marinades really penetrate the dense flesh - I suppose it just adds some surface flavor and aroma. 

 

013.JPG



#87 ChrisTaylor

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:32 PM

Hi David, alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. Also, alcohol does not wet the flour as much as water, and therefore promotes less gluten formation. For these reasons, batters made with high amounts of alcohol tend to be more crispy than batters made with plain water. Heston Blumenthal at Home gives a recipe for battered fish with the batter made with vodka and dispensed through an ISI whipper. I have attempted this recipe and it results in the lightest, crispiest batter you have ever seen.

As for why Chris' second batch turned out better than the first, there are all sorts of variables. If he failed to monitor the temperature of the oil, as he suggested, this could cause the result to be different. Also, if the batter was initially cold and then warmed to room temperature for the second batch, this will lower the viscosity of the batter - therefore less batter sticks to the squid rings. He may or may not have preferred this result.

I am not surprised that Chris failed to catch any squid, because they tend to be more of a cold water species and are best found between May - September in Australia.

Thanks for all the info. I'll remember that next time I do some deep-frying. Great tips.

 

The batter was good. I had no problems with the batter at all. It was the calamari itself that was problematic. Another variable is the quality of the squid itself. I don't think it was very good: hence why I didn't just go to the fishmongers in the first place, as I think it's something with a short shelf life.

 


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#88 rotuts

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 03:33 PM

Wow,  so much Wow:

 

Korean.jpg

 

I have this same Korean Item which I have not used yet!

 

and a couple of those Bins of Paste!

 

 



#89 David Ross

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:23 PM

Hi David, alcohol has a lower boiling point than water. Also, alcohol does not wet the flour as much as water, and therefore promotes less gluten formation. For these reasons, batters made with high amounts of alcohol tend to be more crispy than batters made with plain water. Heston Blumenthal at Home gives a recipe for battered fish with the batter made with vodka and dispensed through an ISI whipper. I have attempted this recipe and it results in the lightest, crispiest batter you have ever seen.

As for why Chris' second batch turned out better than the first, there are all sorts of variables. If he failed to monitor the temperature of the oil, as he suggested, this could cause the result to be different. Also, if the batter was initially cold and then warmed to room temperature for the second batch, this will lower the viscosity of the batter - therefore less batter sticks to the squid rings. He may or may not have preferred this result.

I am not surprised that Chris failed to catch any squid, because they tend to be more of a cold water species and are best found between May - September in Australia.

Thanks for all the info. I'll remember that next time I do some deep-frying. Great tips.

 
The batter was good. I had no problems with the batter at all. It was the calamari itself that was problematic. Another variable is the quality of the squid itself. I don't think it was very good: hence why I didn't just go to the fishmongers in the first place, as I think it's something with a short shelf life.
I bought three different brands of frozen squid. The product I bought from my fishmonger that was from a California producer was the best. I know he regularly rotates his frozen items so I'm sure it wasn't too old. I cooked with it three times and it always turned out tender yet firm. The batch from Safeway was tasteless and tough. Although it was still within its "best by" date, I think it was a combination of being old and brined in salt before it was sold. The third batch, from the Asian market, was the worst. Their frozen seafood is typically mushy, mealy and sometimes smells like old gym socks.

#90 David Ross

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Posted 23 March 2013 - 04:26 PM

In serious need of comfort food today I grabbed some calamari steaks to be marinated and broiled. (The indulgent comfort liner being KFC slaw and baked from frozen extra crunchy crinkle cut fries served w/ horseradish mayo and sriracha) Here is the roughly cut steak ready to be marinated 2 ways. One batch will be Korean hot bean paste, sesame oil, pickled ginger, fresh tangerine juice, walnut oil and soy sauce. The other will be garlic, olive oil, lemon juice & zest and some fresh basil which I did not get in the shot. I don't think marinades really penetrate the dense flesh - I suppose it just adds some surface flavor and aroma. 
 
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Heidi I'm impressed by your flavor combinations, especially the introduction of walnut oil in the Korean marinade. Where did you find such thick calamari steaks? You've got me hungry for dinner.





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