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ulterior epicure

Calamari steaks

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I've got a hankering for calamari steaks - that ethereally tender 1/2"-thick cut of cuttlefish, grilled and served simply drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.

Does anyone have a recipe for it? I've had this, in various forms, in Italy and Spain - but rarely do I see one in the U.S. Would love to recreate it at home!

Thanks!

u.e.

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I've got a hankering for calamari steaks - that ethereally tender 1/2"-thick cut of cuttlefish, grilled and served simply drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and pepper.

Does anyone have a recipe for it?  I've had this, in various forms, in Italy and Spain - but rarely do I see one in the U.S.  Would love to recreate it at home!

Thanks!

u.e.

You might try to contact the PB&J folks. When they still operated Paradise Grill (up in your neck of the woods) they had an entree called Captain Nemo's something (?) and it was fabulous. That's truly the only time I have seen calamari steak in the States and outside of San Francisco, I think. Since that restaurant has been closed for years they might be willing to share the recipe (I'm assuming they have an archive).

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I just picked up a pound of these (at $4.11 US per pound) at Trader Joe's and I've been wondering the same thing. I couldn't wait, took one out and dredged it in eggwash and seasoned flour and sauteed in butter about 2 mins. on each side. It was good, I guess, but about three bites more than I was really after. Kind of too much of a good thing. maybe cut up and used in a cold salad. Thai-style (BTW, I got my ass thoroughly kicked at the local Asian buffet. Turns out that what I thought were peas in the octopus salad weren't peas after all. For a while all I could taste was pain. My nose is running right now just thinking about it. Where do you get those peppers anyway? The crossroads at midnight?)

I digress.

I too would love to get some recipes from youse guys. How would calamari-wrapped diver scallops be, do ya think?

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I just picked up a pound of these (at $4.11 US per pound) at Trader Joe's and I've been wondering the same thing.  I couldn't wait, took one out and dredged it in eggwash and seasoned flour and sauteed in butter about 2 mins. on each side.  It was good, I guess, but about three bites more than I was really after.  Kind of too much of a good thing.  maybe cut up and used in a cold salad. Thai-style (BTW, I got my ass thoroughly kicked at the local Asian buffet.  Turns out that what I thought were peas in the octopus salad weren't peas after all.  For a while all I could taste was pain.  My nose is running right now just thinking about it.  Where do you get those peppers anyway?  The crossroads at midnight?)

I digress.

I too would love to get some recipes from youse guys.  How would calamari-wrapped diver scallops be, do ya think?

Another eGulleter, David Crum, informed me that the calamari steaks that I had were probably processed - in the sense that they had undergone a process called Jacquard (sp?) in which hundreds of needles are pressed into the steak to tenderize it. I imagine it'd be like pounding veal or chicken breast meat to tenderize it. Does anyone know about this process? Dave?

u.e.

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During an Alaska visit in June 2005 I stopped by the Douglas Cafe, across the bridge from Juneau. They prepared calamari steak quickly pan grilled and finished with a light lime-accented sauce. Should you find yourself in Juneau the Douglas Cafe is worth seeking out -- loved locally for breakfast and burgers, but the dinner menu offers some treats, too.

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Another eGulleter, David Crum, informed me that the calamari steaks that I had were probably processed - in the sense that they had undergone a process called Jacquard (sp?) in which hundreds of needles are pressed into the steak to tenderize it.  I imagine it'd be like pounding veal or chicken breast meat to tenderize it.  Does anyone know about this process?  Dave?

u.e.

Jaccard, named after the inventor, Andre Jaccard. This equipment has been around for about 40 years. Website for the original:

http://www.jaccard.com/

There are several copys (Oxo, Deni, Mr Bar-B-Q for the hand-held, Tor-rey and Hobart for the commercial machines) now.

You can see how it works by looking at the hand-held versions. It's used mostly on cheap/lean steaks, and works by cutting some of the muscle fibres before cooking, making the meat easier to chew. A side benefit is that the meat picks up marinade faster. Downside - to me, anyway - is that in the mouth, jaccard meat can feel unpleasantly pre-chewed; plus jaccard meat should be cooked well-done. This is because, as with hamburger, you've potentially spread whatever bacteria was on the outside throughout the middle.

If you've ever had restaurant chicken fried steak, that's almost always jaccard beef, and that's probably the only place where I like it. I suppose it's also useful in places like hospitals, airline catering and prisons - places where any meat used has to be a) cheap, b) well-done and c) cuttable/chewable by the diner without a sharp knife being involved. I've heard of jaccard used on calamari but never tried it (nor wanted to).

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I have been missing the "Squid Plate" from the seafood place at the local pier. It consisted of pretty wide strips of calamari steak that were battered and deep fried. Years ago I used to get the calamari in this form from Trader Joe's and just briefly marinate and broil - kinda chewy but I like that. TJ discontinued the product and I was left high and dry. I asked at Whole Food yesterday and they had them frozen but they are individually packed so they can sell you the amount you want without having to chisel them apart. The cut was about 1/2" thick and were pre-tenderized. Rather than what I remember from the Trader Joes product which was like a jaccard, this looked like unidirectional slits that were not deep at all. I thought $8.49/lb was ridiculous but the craving was getting the better of me.

After much googling, since the earlier posts here never really got to the recipe discussion, I experimented with one of the 2 steaks purchased yesterday and defrosted. No pictures since I had a hot oil malfunction on my bare feet (slotted spatula would have been the weapon of choice bu I do not have one), but will get shots of the next experiment tomorrow.

I passed the squid through some seasoned flour, into an egg wash, and then through the flour again. I did not want a thick coating. I pan fried it in olive oil for three minutes per side. Quite a success! It was very tender and had that unique sweet taste I associate with, and love about, squid and octopus.

I wonder if the whole flour and egg dredging is needed. I know it is common for pan saute of fish and chicken but have never understood exactly why.

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Experiment number two just concluded. I sliced the steak into 3 pieces against the "grain" of the tenderizing, used just a bit of butter & olive oil, and added some course corn meal to the seasoned flour for the last pass. It looked great, and I liked having the smaller pieces with the light breading as all squid all the time can be one dimensional as noted way up topic. Unfortunately the cornmeal was too course and made each bite sort of gritty/chewy. Also the butter was a non presence. Squid is so "dense" that additions seem to be on the surface only. I still enjoyed it but am going to stick with the original prep with the addition of cutting into smaller strips, and also will experiment with it naked - both grilled and perhaps in a curry. The flesh again was very tender and flavorful. I need to find a cheaper source as well.

DSCN1149.JPG

Raw

DSCN1150.JPG

Coated

DSCN1151.JPG

In the pan

DSCN1153.JPG

A finished strip and a bite view

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Try cooking it "a'la plancha" on the BBQ.

- infuse garlic into olive oil, then dip the calamari into the olive oil

- heat a cast iron pan on a burner while you heat a hot plate. Both need to be extremely hot.

- place the calamari on the hot plate, then iron pan on top of the calamari

- cook for 60-90 seconds

- remove, drizzle with lemon, chopped parsley, salt + pepper, serve immediately.

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I picked up two more steaks the other day.

The first rendition was sliced in inch or so strips, marinated in basil infused olive oil, bit of lime juice, salt/garlic mashed to paste in m&p, and snipped basil and mint. I tossed it in a smoking hot pre-heated cast iron skillet for just 2 minutes. Perhaps the fault was that of my skillet - not seasoned enough - there was stickage. The result was good but I lost the browned bits to the skillet.

Today was a rousing success. Same marinade as above except I snagged a very fresh lemon from a tree so I used the juice and the zest. Scrunched up a piece of foil, put the squid on and broiled at my highest until there was some browning. The lemon zest was in large pieces from the vegetable peeler and those bits with the calamari were sublime. I plan to repeat this often though I have to find stellar lemons first. The local trees are full of greenies. The one I got was way up high probably getting maximum sun. No picture as my plating helper put the raw beet salad directly on the plates rather than in small bowls as I suggested. Major bleed.

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