Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Squid with pangrattato

This recipe is amazing. I can't really imagine getting more out of a squid. This gives all the savoury, oily comfort that deep fried calimari gives, but in a more interesting and slightly lighter dish. Its from Jamie's Italy. I've always had problems with this man but hot damn, I'm starting to come round.

The garlic, not being peeled, doesn't burn but can still be heated to a high temperature. The result is that the breadcrumbs pick up a great garlic flavour and a good piquancy from the chilli. The chilli's wholeness prevents it from frying as normal so you get a touch of roasted pepper coming through. Need I say more?


350g per person of baby squid
half a lemon

The pangrattato will serve about 4. Do the maths if you need more. For the pangrattato:

2 slices of bread crumbed in a food processor
6 cloves of garlic in the skin, squished a bit under a knife
2 large red chillis whole but pricked all over with a fork
a big handful of chopped parsley
olive oil, salt, pepper


Leave your squid whole but put them on some kitchen roll to drain the water. If possible, leave like this for an hour or so as you want to remove as much water as possible. If not, the squid will not colour and you'll miss out on the browned bit of squid. We wouldn't want that to happen would we?

Get a thick-based frying pan and warm a good (and I mean good) glug of oil (good I said) and add the chilli, garlic and breadcrumbs. Fry on a hot hob until the breadcrumbs start to toast. Season well and set aside. This will probably take 10-15 minutes so in the meantime, chop the parsley while you're salivating over the smell of bread and garlic cooking simultaneously.

You must be hungry by now. Once the pangrattato is done, remove it from the heat and stir in the parsley so that it gets a chance to wilt. Reheat the pan (medium-hot) with a small splash of oil and fry the squid and lemon together. The squid may release water. If so, keep draining it so that the pan is almost dry. This should allow some colour on the squid and lemon. If the pan is small, do this in batches - a full pan will inevitably stop the contents from colouring. You don't need to fry these for long. Get the pan hot and keep it dryish and it should be 6-8 minutes per batch to get a bit of colour. If the pan gets too dry, add more oil. Oil is fine but water is the enemy at this point.

Once the squid is done, put on plates and sprinkle pangrattato generously over it. Serve on hot plates with a light salad in side bowls. I like to combine them, but there are salad devotees who get upset by this so best to leave a choice.

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