Truly, there is nothing we won't do for you dear readers. Oh sure, I know that you spend a fortune on this newsletter every month and have high expectations but still, this month's recipe has pushed us to our emotional limit. It wasn't so much the evisceration of the squid - it was the shrill "eeeewww" and "yuck!" and "oh god!" that came out of the mouths of people wandering through The Hot Line test kitchen. I'll tell you one thing - you want to gross out a ten year old - then this is the recipe for you:
- Some Squid - we used "Loligo" squid, no idea what that means - it was the weekly special so we bought it
- Two bulbs fennel
- Sweet cherry tomatoes
- Red peppers
- Three cloves garlic - minced
- Salt - 1 tsp
- Pepper - 1 tsp
- Lemon Juice - ½ cup
- Olive oil - ½ cup
- Fresh Oregano - 1 Tbsp
- Parmesan cheese - grated
- Some leaves for the rest of the food to rest on.
Lay out your ingredients
See?! Eight arms and two tentacles.
Cut off the arms/tentacles just below the eyes.
Remove the oozing guts/brain/eyes/organ sack. This was not my favourite part of the procedure.
Pull out the spine-thing which feels exactly like thin, clear plastic.
Remove the skin which peels off like an onion (a slimy, slippery, heeby-jeeby onion).
Peel off the pointy fins at the top of the body.
The hard, parrot-like beak resides just above the arms. It just pops out...
Using your fingernail, slide all the little uh, pointy teeth-like bits off of the arms. Don't worry if you miss a few - they add crunchiness to the finished product. If someone gets a few with their meal and asks what they are, tell them that they're mini croutons. Do NOT say: "Oh those? Those are the little teeth that are on the arms, or maybe they're little suction cups. Anyway - I must have missed a few."
Slice the body of the squid into rings.
Rinse everything with cold, fresh water.
For the marinade/dressing mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt, pepper and garlic together. Whisk. Keep half the mixture together for a dressing, the other half is for marinade.
Put the squid in the marinade and let it sit for several hours.
Put the onions, peppers and fennel on your grill. Put the peppers on early so they char completely. The onions take a fair amount of cooking to release their sugars so don't be shy with those either. The fennel either needs a lot of low/slow roasting to soften up or 5-6 minutes in the microwave before they hit the grill - your choice.
When the fennel softens up and is finished grilling, spread a little parmesan cheese on top before you take it off the barbecue.
Put the heavily charred peppers into a plastic bag and let them sweat for a half hour or so on the counter. This helps loosen the skins up.
Peel off the skins, de-vein and de-stem. Then cut the roasted peppers into strips. A little balsamic on top is a nice touch too.
Make sure your grill is nicely hot and put the squid on. Don't leave. Stick around. Squid gets rubbery if you cook it too long. About 2 minutes per side is all you need. (Apologies for the gratuitous brand placement shot.)
Assemble a bed of green leafy bits. Add tomatoes, grilled peppers and fennel. Top with grilled squid and plenty of reserved dressing. This recipe was a bit more work than I'd like but, the squid turned out great. Next time, I'll buy pre-cleaned squid and save a bucket of time.