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Cook-Off 62: Squid, Calamari and Octopus


David Ross
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Have you tried adding all of the ingredients that give depth of flavour on the first day (garlic, chili) and compared the results? It seems to be a fairly conventional tomato-based sauce that you should be able to make in an hour at most. If you want depth of flavour, retain a portion of some of the ingredients to add later in the cooking process enable some to be cooked longer and some shorter.

It seems that the tomato sauce base deepens in flavor if you hold it over to day two and then add the garlic and chili to finish the sauce. And......it gets better from there. I may use the combined sauces and add meat on a third or fourth day and each step the sauce flavors gain more depth.
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Paul - I used to get them at Whole Foods but they claimed they stopped carrying them because of sustainability issues which seems odd with squid. I now get them at a chain called Bristol Farms - but it is a frozen product so fish markets should be able to order a box for you. When the counter guy brought the box out is was shoebox sized and the steaks are individually plastic-wrapped.

Thanks for the information on the calamari steaks Heidi. I remember shopping at a Bristol Farms in Hollywood many years ago.
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Spicy squid with asparagus.

attachicon.gifsquid asparagus.jpg

Looks delicious. We're about a month away from the first asparagus of the season in Eastern, WA, so I'm going to add this to my list of new asparagus dishes.

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For this cook-off I thought I would make fried squid with tomato sauce, but with enough twists to make it presentable to the eG crowd :) Rather than cut the squid tubes into rings, I left a central spine so that the rings would hold together and stand vertically. Rather than make a simple tomato sauce, I smoked the tomatoes then made a sauce and topped it with a fresh vegetable brunoise consisting of radish, celery, and onion. I deliberately chose pungent vegetables so that they would speak through the tomato sauce and richness of the calamari. The squid batter itself was made with 40% Trisol along with a selection of chopped herbs. The Trisol is the secret to the crunchiness of the batter. It even holds up to being drenched in sauce.

original.jpg

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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For this cook-off I thought I would make fried squid with tomato sauce, but with enough twists to make it presentable to the eG crowd :) Rather than cut the squid tubes into rings, I left a central spine so that the rings would hold together and stand vertically. Rather than make a simple tomato sauce, I smoked the tomatoes then made a sauce and topped it with a fresh vegetable brunoise consisting of radish, celery, and onion. I deliberately chose pungent vegetables so that they would speak through the tomato sauce and richness of the calamari. The squid batter itself was made with 40% Trisol along with a selection of chopped herbs. The Trisol is the secret to the crunchiness of the batter. It even holds up to being drenched in sauce.

original.jpg

Thanks for adding a very unique dish to our Cook-Off. I have a few questions about the Trisol. Do you have an online source? You mentioned that the batter was 40% Trisol and chopped herbs. What were the other elements of the batter, (another type of flour and what type of liquid)?

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I thought I would add a picture of some of my fresh slimy friends that were staring at me at the local fishmongers.

original.jpg

David, I bought the Trisol via a special order from a local supplier in Melbourne. I think you can get Trisol from Amazon. This blog entry goes into more detail on the effect of Trisol.

The batter recipe is as follows:

Flour 100%

Trisol 40%

Salt 2%

Oregano flakes 1%

Parsley flakes 1%

Thyme flakes 1%

There is no water in the batter, so perhaps I shouldn't have called it a batter. All I did was dredge the squid in the flour mixture, roll it in egg wash, then back in the flour mixture, then deep fry at 200C. The reason I use 200C is because the oil temperature drops by 70C the moment food goes in, so it has to start at a higher temperature.

As for the smoked tomato sauce, I peeled the tomatoes, cut them into slices to maximize the surface area, and put them into my smoker for an hour at 105C. I used Apple wood. The end result turned out to be too smoky, so I ended up using only a third of the tomatoes I smoked and made up the difference with canned tomatoes (I was too lazy to go back to the shops for more). You live and learn!

I don't think this dish is all that unique. Like I said, fried squid with tomato sauce is street food. You can get it in my hospital cafeteria (next to the fried chicken, fried chiko rolls, fried dimsims, etc). This dish is a re-imagining of what street food would look like if you were to all fancy on it.

Here is a shot from another angle to show the cut of the squid:

original.jpg

Edited by Keith_W (log)
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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David Ross, on 14 Mar 2013 - 01:04, said:

I'm working on my next dish and I've been thinking about how challenging it is to pair the right ingredients and garnishes with an ingredient like octopus and squid. The issue of texture is certainly at the forefront, and since the flavors are somewhat mild compared to say salmon or mackerel, I think you have to take extra care when you create your own dish from scratch.

So getting more specific, what types of vegetables would you pair with squid or octopus? Do you think fruit would ever work?

I've served squid with kiwi, passion fruit, pomelo and grapefruit. Passion fruit was the most interesting and delicious. I just squeezed it over very quickly grilled squid. Green tomatoes are also a nice alternative to red.

For vegetables, you could stew it with green peppers, potato, tomato, onion and garlic, or fry it with scallion and chillis, or prepare a cioppino (a seafood stew with tomato, fennel, leek, carrot, shallots, garlic, orange zest, saffron, olive oil and pernod and mixed seafood). You can also serve them with spinach sauteed with ginger, garlic, onion and and chilli, or simply with a spinach and orange salad. I think aubergine, white asparagus or broccolini could work as side dishes.

Given the mention of rhubarb, I'm now wondering whether gooseberry would be going too far... or greengages?

Edited by Plantes Vertes (log)
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I'm working on my next dish and I've been thinking about how challenging it is to pair the right ingredients and garnishes with an ingredient like octopus and squid. The issue of texture is certainly at the forefront, and since the flavors are somewhat mild compared to say salmon or mackerel, I think you have to take extra care when you create your own dish from scratch.

So getting more specific, what types of vegetables would you pair with squid or octopus? Do you think fruit would ever work?

I've served squid with kiwi, passion fruit, pomelo and grapefruit. Passion fruit was the most interesting and delicious. I just squeezed it over very quickly grilled squid.

Given the mention of rhubarb, I'm now wondering whether gooseberry would be going too far...

Ah gooseberries. We've pushed this glorious berry aside for so many years. When my Grandmother made gooseberry pie in the 1960's it wasn't unusual. Use gooseberries today and people wonder what you're talking about--and I live in a part of the country where gooseberries flourish.

I think a squid or baby octopus ceviche would be wonderful with grapefruit. Gooseberries and squid, I'm skeptical, they are one tart berry. Then again, it would be worth a shot. Could be a new discovery.

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I'm working on my next dish and I've been thinking about how challenging it is to pair the right ingredients and garnishes with an ingredient like octopus and squid. The issue of texture is certainly at the forefront, and since the flavors are somewhat mild compared to say salmon or mackerel, I think you have to take extra care when you create your own dish from scratch.

So getting more specific, what types of vegetables would you pair with squid or octopus? Do you think fruit would ever work?

I've served squid with kiwi, passion fruit, pomelo and grapefruit. Passion fruit was the most interesting and delicious. I just squeezed it over very quickly grilled squid.

Given the mention of rhubarb, I'm now wondering whether gooseberry would be going too far...

Ah gooseberries. We've pushed this glorious berry aside for so many years. When my Grandmother made gooseberry pie in the 1960's it wasn't unusual. Use gooseberries today and people wonder what you're talking about--and I live in a part of the country where gooseberries flourish.

I think a squid or baby octopus ceviche would be wonderful with grapefruit. Gooseberries and squid, I'm skeptical, they are one tart berry. Then again, it would be worth a shot. Could be a new discovery.

Gooseberry and squid pie? With cream? I really think I'm on to something here! :biggrin:

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Great idea for a Cook-Off, David. I live on a North Atlantic bay where squid are showing up in big numbers for the first time in a long time. Kids jig and catch them easily with barbless hooks. Count me in.

I'm still holding out for my local squid. Very nice photos liuzhou.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I thought I would share a picture of the current ad for pre-prepped octopus at a local Japanese market. This is what I originally posted about. Do others purchase and use this style, and if so, in what manner?

009.JPG

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I would buy that product at $20 per lb. I bet a pound is a good amount of octopus so if I looked at it more in terms of the cost per serving, I think it would be worth it if it's a decent product.

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It is sold in very small amounts per package - a few 4 inch pieces of tentacle. I think it is meant to be eaten relatively thinly sliced as more of a sushi item. Does anyone else have any experience with this form?

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here is my result! i had them a bit too long in my hydrater. however, flavour is not bad at all. you can taste the difference between the two methods. the one which i brined raw can be grated into bigger bits. the other one, turns out almost like flour. have to make my mind up how two use them now.

okto1.jpg

okto2.jpg

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It looks like something you might find in the snack section of an Asian grocery store, actually. Which reminds me - dried squid tossed in spices and a bit of sugar is a common sweet-savoury Asian snack. It is usually rolled out flat first then sun dried. You can even pound it into a powder and use it to add an interesting textural element to your stir-fries.

Edited by Keith_W (log)
There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw
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