Calamari Catalana

  • Portions: 4 pp.
  • Level: 2/5
  • Preparation: 20 min.
  • Cooking: 10 min.
  • Season: For any season

I just love, quick and easy dishes, but most of all i love it when they are tasty and fresh. This dish hails from spain, the Catalana region on the north east coast, known for their fresh seafood and Mediterranean style cooking, this dish hits all the right notes to give you that warm, summer on mediterranean feeling.
I just love calamari, the sweet, salty taste and the soft delicate texture, one of those special treats from the ocean. You need however to be very careful when cooking such seafood, whether you are frying, sautéing, stewing or grilling, there is nothing worse than over cooked calamari, it will be like eating chewing gum calamari style. You need to take the time, watch, feel and taste to get it right.
The main thing i like about this dish, is that you can use any seasonal vegetables you like, so the dish changes all year round, you can use what you like, and most of all its very healthy and light, but allows you highlight the star of the show and thats the Calamari with an array of colors and flavors.

Ingredients

  • 400g calamari (cleaned)
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 8 radishes
  • 2 yellow bell peppers
  • 1 bunch Spring onions
  • 1 leek
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 cloves of garlic (chopped fine)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

First you need to clean well your calamari, I would try to get smaller calamari fresh if you can, they are sweeter to taste and tender eat. I know it can be a messy job and not many people like to doing this at home, so you can get your fish monger to do it for you, or you can buy frozen calamari already clean, which are ok. But fresh is always better and part of the fun with cooking is getting dirty. Twist of and remove the head, cut and keep the tentacles, with your fingers remove all the insides, making sure you remove the back bone, which is long and transparent. Wash and dry the body. Cut into large pieces and keep in the fridge until needed (see that was easy now wasn’t it).
Take all your vegetables, wash clean and peel. Cut all your vegetables (except the radishes) julienne, which is where you cut into long thin strips. Cut your radishes quarters and mix all the vegetables together, also mixing through your basil and garlic.
Mix together 50ml of balsamic vinegar and 100ml of olive oil to make a vinaigrette. Heat a large non stick pan, once very hot and almost smoking add your calamari. Saute off the heat, then bring back on, add olive oil, salt and pepper and keep sauteing fast off the heat, then back on until the calamari is cooked, this should only take a minute or two as calamari cooks extremely fast. The best way to tell is to taste.
Remove the calamari and set aside. In the same pan, add all your vegetables, olive oil, salt and pepper to season and saute for one min, but make sure your vegetables remain al dente and have that little crunch of freshness. Turn off the heat. Portion out your calamari in the middle of the plate, then gently place your sautéed vegetables on top. Finish with your balsamic dressing and garnish with some more basil and serve.

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