Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Recipe: Calamari

Last Sunday, my husband David and I attended a birthday celebration in honour of my remarkable Uncle (also named David).  His wife, my Aunt Susan, planned the surprise celebration, which was quite honestly the best birthday party we’ve ever been to.  

The event was held at “Pasquale’s Trattoria”, a fantastic Italian restaurant located in dowtown Oakville.  About fifty of Uncle David’s closest friends and relatives came out to celebrate this milestone birthday.  The evening was filled with fun, food, laughter and tender moments, as there were roughly a dozen touching speeches in addition to a hilarious Las Vegas-style singer!  It was such a pleasure to be introduced to and chat with so many of the people in Uncle David’s life that I had heard about over the years, but had never met.

Now – to the food – it was an amazing spread, to say the least!  Brace yourself – it was a lengthy menu… We started with bruschetta as well as fresh bread with olive oil & balsamic vinegar.  Next they brought out platters of antipasto – think cured meats, cheeses, marinated vegetables and olives.  After that?  My fav – bowls stuffed with fried calamari with marinara dipping sauce and steamed mussels.  

Following the seafood (by this point, I was getting worried because I was already full, while my husband was completely in his element, just getting warmed up…) they brought out perfectly cooked penne pasta with a light rose sauce topped with freshly grated parmesan.  Then, we had our choice of entrees:  veal marsala, chicken picatta or roasted salmon.  Finally, we ended the meal with a delicious layered cake.  It was so pretty that there was a crowd of people taking pictures of it, myself included.

The evening was remarkable and will certainly be one that I’ll always remember – and not just because of the food!  Happy Birthday Uncle David.

Simple Fried Squid
recipe adapted from Fine Cooking magazine


§         2½ (two-and-a-half) lbs. squid, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch-wide rings
§         ½ (one-half) cup all-purpose flour
§         sunflower oil, for deep-frying (you’ll need a few cups)
§         lemon wedges, for garnish and serving
§         salt and freshly ground black pepper

§         Italian marinara sauce for dipping (or use your favourite seafood sauce)

1.      Lightly season the squid rings with salt and coat them in the flour, shaking off any excess.
2.      Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or pan to 350–375°F or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds.
3.      Add the squid rings, in batches, and cook until golden brown.
4.      Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and keep warm while cooking the remaining batches.
5.      Season to taste with salt and pepper.
6.      Serve the squid garnished with the lemon wedges and marinara sauce for dipping.

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