Vera Cruz Marinated Calamari: High in flavor, protein, low in mercury. Yeah!
Vera Cruz Marinated Calamari
Lucky for me, I shop in a supermarket, Shop Rite, on Morris Avenue, in Union, New Jersey which caters to an audience of finicky, picky Italian American cooks. This means, their fish counter is better than most dedicated fish mongers. It’s clean. Everything is very very fresh, and they have such a fish-eating clientele they have a very fast turnover. Not once, in all these 10 or so years that I have shopped there, have I found that ammonia smell which means you’d better turn and walk away. No. Never.
And so you can imagine how excited I was to see a new shipment this week of cleaned and prepared squid – known to Italians as calamari. I’ve been buying squid since my days living in the bay area of California, where they sold them in big five pound boxes and you had to take them home and clean them yourself.
It’s not the worst job in the world. You just pick each one up, put your finger inside and pull out the mantle (feels like a big fingernail) and guts, then wash them and cut into rings.
But oh my I’m happy to see them already cleaned.
And, although the Italians love their fried calamari with red sauce (who doesn’t), I still have a recipe from California one of my neighbors gave me after a trip to Vera Cruz.
It’s hard to best the Mexicans when it comes to fish preparation. They get it.
And this recipe is no exception. Remember that squid is delicate. Cook it too long and you have rubber bands. A quick cook, in this case in a little water with olive oil, flavored with aromatics, then put it up in a jar in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Here’s how to make it.
Vera Cruz Marinated Calamari with Cilantro and Chile
Makes about 4 servings.
1-1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound fresh cleaned and sliced into rings squid + tentacles
1 medium yellow onion, sliced thin
¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
¼ cup minced red bell pepper
½ cup rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, smashed
8 whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
½ teaspoon sea salt
Arugula or other salad green for the base
Bring water and oil to a gentle simmer in a medium size pan, then add squid and simmer gently 15 minutes. Add onion, cilantro and pepper, and cook 5-10 minutes more.
Meanwhile, combine in a clean jar the vinegar, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaf and salt.
When the squid are cooked, pour them into the jar, cover and refrigerate up to two days.
Serve cold on a bed of arugula or other salad green.
Here’s the great news about squid. It’s loaded with lean, healthy protein, minerals and vitamins, and the calorie count is so low its almost embarrassing. Wooee!
A 3-oz. serving of raw squid contains 78 calories, composed of about 70 percent protein, 15 percent carbohydrates and 15 percent fat.
rich in niacin and vitamin B-12. High in phosphorus, zinc, copper and selenium,
squid is one of the best fish to eat, since it tends to contain very low amounts of mercury. What’s not to love???Pin It