I think calamari is one of the most overlooked products from the sea. They catch a lot of it off the South Coast. You can buy it straight from the fisherfamily at the Capital Region Farmers Market on the weekend. They often catch it near Eden.
Narooma Seafood at the Capital Region Farmers’ Market
It’s very reasonably priced and I’ve yet to buy a tough one. But if you’re worried about it, I use a super simple trick. All you need do is mix it up with a little bi-carbonate soda for an hour or more. Rinse off the bi-carb before cooking and I guarantee you’ll have beautiful tender squid. I like to finely score the inside of my squid tubes. I open them out, then make very shallow incisions at an angle, all the way up the tube. Be careful not to cut all the way through. You can carry on to make a cross hatch, but I rarely have the patience. Besides, I like calamari for a quick meal, with a protein that doesn’t take long to cook. It would defeat the purpose if I was fussy in my preparation.
I’ve come to see how versatile squid is of late. Marinade your scored squid in a sprinkle of smoked paprika for a few hours or overnight. While the blood oranges are in season, mix up some of those citrus segments with some rocket and avocado. Pull your squid out of the fridge and bring it to room temperature. Make a frying pan hot, then add a little oil. Quickly fry the squid till it just becomes opaque, then take it off the heat and let it rest for a few minutes. Dress the salad with a little sherry vinegar and olive oil, dish it up and top with your lovely fragrant squid.
If you want to go all out for dinner with friends, I highly recommend making paella. You will need some specialised rice and saffron as well as some vegetable, fish or chicken stock. But you can make a spectacular looking paella with some very reasonably priced seafood. I love to include strips of scored squid and mussels. A few prawns will go a long way, or you could include some white fleshed fish. When you arrange the seafood in a pretty pattern atop the rice, it makes a spectacular dish to bring to the table and share with friends.
Squid is a great addition to a quick family BBQ. You can mix it up with your favourite mild marinade, or make a nice native one with lemon myrtle, pepperberry and macadamia oil. Leave it for at least an hour before cooking on a hot chargrill. Serve it with a green salad and some crusty bread.
What’s your favourite way to eat calamari?