Sauteed Calamari with Vinaigrette and Catalan Spinach

Catalan Spinach with Griddled Squid - C

 

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Sauteed Calamari in Vinaigrette with Catalan Spinach
The Spanish word for spinach, “Espinaca”, is one of the many Moorish influences that have left an imprint on the Spanish language and food ways. Spinach has been consumed in Spain since the Moorish occupation. It’s most likely the Moors or Spanish Jews that incorporated the use of sweet dried fruits with an otherwise bitter green.

This recipe is all about about advance preparation which isn’t that involved.  The main thing is to not cook it until you’re ready to eat or are planning to serve at room temperature.  Neither the spinach nor the squid take much time to cook so I think it’s better to have the spinach cooked first.  As soon as the squid is flashed in the pan, it’s ready to serve.

Yield: 6-8 servings as a Tapa

Squid:
¾ lb. squid tubes & tentacles, cleaned
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of half a lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vinaigrette:
4 teaspoons red wine vinegar
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons minced parsley
Pinch of sugar
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

Spinach:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 lb. bag of cleaned spinach
¼ cup finely diced apricots
¼ cup raisins
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Squid:
Combine olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper together in a small bowl to make a marinade for the squid. If squid are small, split the tube into quarters and cut into rectagn If tentacles are very large, cut in half. Place squid into marinade mixture and marinate for about 15 minutes before cooking.

Vinaigrette:
Combine all ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil in a small bowl. Whisk to blend and dissolve the salt and sugar. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking continuously in a zig-zag fashion. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Set aside.

Cooking spinach & squid:
Heat olive oil in a 10 or 11-inch sauté pan.  Add the pine nuts and cook stirring constantly, until lightly toasted.  Add the spinach, apricots, raisins, and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook just until wilted, turning in the pan with tongs. When spinach is wilted down and seasoned, remove and place in a colander or a small strainer to drain off excess liquid. While spinach drains, cook the squid by heating a medium sauté pan over high heat until heat can be felt radiating from the surface. Dump squid into the pan and distribute evenly across bottom surface of the pan with tongs. Turn squid once or twice and cook until it becomes opaque white.  Remove once it becomes opaque or it will easily overcook and become rubbery.

Arrange a pile of spinach near the back of a plate and arrange cooked squid around the spinach. Drizzle the reserved vinaigrette over the top of the squid before serving.

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