Squid Pro Quo


Heat a Dutch oven or deep, heavy-bottomed pot on the stove until its very hot and toss in a small fennel bulb, a couple onions, a few small carrots, a pair of red peppers, several stalks of celery, all cut up nicely into finger-long strips roughly the width of your iphone.

With about four cups in all, stir the various vegetables in the dry Dutch oven for a couple of minutes until they become aromatic. Now add about three cups of fresh or defrosted squid that you have cut into thin ringlets or strips of a similar width as the vegetables. Add about a third of a cup of olive oil and stir quickly while adding :

  • 2 or 3 anchovy-fillets minced
  • 4 or 5 large lobes of garlic smashed and finely minced
  • Juice of a large lemon
  • 1 tablespoons finely minced capers
  • 1/2 cup chopped green olives
  • 2 cups crisp white wine
  • 1/2 cup roughly minced Italian parsley 
  • 1/2 cup roughly minced garden herbs such as parsley, marjoram, thyme, and sage.
  • 1 tablespoon (smoked) paprika
  •  2 teaspoons black pepper
  •  1 teaspoon sea salt
  •  1 cup organic vegetable (or chicken) stock

Mix everything and set the Dutch oven on a verylow flame to simmer, tightly covered, for about thirty minutes without removing the top of the Dutch oven. This is critical, as the squid must slowly steam its way to glory in a seething bath of garlic and herbs. If you wish, you can shake the pot around every now and then just to keep yourself busy.

After roughly a half an hour has elapsed, lift the lid, quickly stir the pot adding a few splashes of White Balsamic Vinegar (or late-harvest white wine), another squeeze or two of lemon juice, a big splash of olive oil, and white pepper to taste. Now quickly cover the pot again, turn off the flame completely, and let the squid remain covered on the stoive until you are ready to serve.

Serve over Cous Cous or Quinoa accompanied by an arugula-tomato-onion salad dressed in aged balsamic vinegar, some fruity olive oil, ample crushed black pepper and grated Grana Padano cheese. You can also add cooked penne or fusilli pasta into the spot to compose a fine Calamari Pasta.

Enjoy the dish with a sourdough baguette which you have lavishly spread with mashed garlic and ghee, drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and toasted beneath a broiler. Serve alongside a glass of cool-climate Pinot Noir, or Viogner.