GRILLED CALA­MARI WITH PICK­LED SHISHITO PEP­PERS, OLIVES, CHERRY TOMA­TOES AND DILL

The Globe and Mail (Prairie Edition) - - GLOBE STYLE -

FOR THE CALA­MARI 1 kg baby cala­mari (heads and ten­ta­cles) 2 cups but­ter­milk FOR THE PICK­LED SHISHITO PEP­PERS 3 cups shishito pep­pers ¼ cup gar­lic, diced 1 cup white wine vine­gar ½ cup sugar 3 cups wa­ter 2 tea­spoons salt FOR THE TOASTED BREAD­CRUMBS 1 cup stale bread 2 ta­ble­spoons but­ter Salt to taste

FOR THE GARNISHES 2 cups cherry toma­toes ½ cup olives, sliced ¼ cup but­ter 2 le­mons 1 ta­ble­spoon fresh-picked dill First, clean the cala­mari. Rinse the squid un­der cold wa­ter. Trans­fer it to a plate, then place a clean cut­ting board and knife down on your work station. On the cut­ting board, lay a cala­mari out length­wise, head on one side and ten­ta­cles ly­ing flat. Us­ing your fin­gers, pull the flat head por­tion from the ten­ta­cles to sep­a­rate them. Next, us­ing your fin­gers, re­move the fins from the side of the tube. Reach in­side the tube and pull out any ex­cess car­ti­lage. Throw out the fins and car­ti­lage. Re­serve the tubes on a sep­a­rate plate. To clean the ten­ta­cle por­tion, feel di­rectly above the ten­ta­cles. You will feel a firm ball of car­ti­lage. Us­ing your knife, cut di­rectly be­low it, leav­ing only the ten­ta­cles. Dis­card the rest. There will be two longer ten­ta­cles com­ing from around the mid­dle. Use two fin­gers to pull off these long ten­ta­cles and dis­card them. Re­peat this step un­til you have cleaned all of the cala­mari.

Place all of the ten­ta­cles and tubes in a large zip lock bag. Pour the but­ter­milk into the bag and place in the fridge for at least 20 min­utes. If you have time, you can mar­i­nate the mix­ture overnight, which will ten­der­ize it even fur­ther. Place a large pot of wa­ter over low heat. Us­ing a ther­mome­ter, check the tem­per­a­ture of the wa­ter, which should sit at 59 C. If you can’t pre­cisely reach that tem­per­a­ture, try to stay as close as pos­si­ble. Open the plas­tic bag of mar­i­nated cala­mari and place it in the wa­ter on the stove grad­u­ally, let­ting the wa­ter push out all of the air from the bag. Sub­merge al­most all of the bag, ex­cept the very top, and zip the bag to lock it. Leave the bag of cala­mari in the wa­ter for 20 min­utes – this process of cook­ing is called sous vide. Once the cala­mari is done cook­ing, trans­fer the bag to a large bowl of ice wa­ter to cool down as quick as pos­si­ble. For the pick­led shishito pep­pers, fill a medium-sized pot of wa­ter and place it on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the gar­lic and bring it to a boil. Once the wa­ter is boiling, strain out the wa­ter, sav­ing the gar­lic. Re­fill the pot with new, cold wa­ter, and place the gar­lic back in the pot. Re­peat this process two more times to take the harsh fla­vors out of the gar­lic. Once fin­ished, strain all of the wa­ter and place the gar­lic back into the pot. Put all in­gre­di­ents ex­cept for the shishito pep­pers into the pot and turn the heat to medium-high, bring­ing it to a sim­mer. Cut the shishito pep­pers into small, 1-inch pieces – you should get about five pieces per shishito pep­per. Place the cut pep­pers in a food safe bowl. Once the liq­uid in the pot has reached a sim­mer, take it off the heat and pour all of the hot con­tents over the pep­pers. Let the pep­pers sit at room tem­per­a­ture un­til cool. For the toasted bread crumbs, place small pieces of the bread in a food pro­ces­sor and blend un­til it reaches a crumb con­sis­tency. Place the but­ter in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once the but­ter has melted and started to bub­ble, add the crumbs, stir­ring every minute or so. As the but­ter browns, the bread crumbs will toast and caramelize. The bread is done when it reaches a golden, light brown colour. Sea­son with salt and re­serve. To fin­ish, sea­son a grill with oil us­ing a pa­per towel or rag to keep the cala­mari from stick­ing and heat it to medium. On the stove, put a sauté pan on medium-high heat and coat the bot­tom with a lit­tle oil. Add toma­toes. When they are slightly blis­tered, add some of the pick­led shishito pep­pers and some of the gar­lic. Sauté un­til the toma­toes start to soften. Add the olives and set aside off of the heat. Next, grill the cala­mari. Cook each piece for about 1 minute per side – be care­ful to just flavour it with grill marks with­out over­cook­ing it. Trans­fer cala­mari to a food safe plate and slice it into half-inch rings us­ing a knife. Place the shishito pep­per and to­mato mix­ture back on the heat. Add the but­ter and cala­mari to the pan. Sauté for about 3 more min­utes, un­til the cala­mari is ten­der. Sea­son the pan with salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Trans­fer the cala­mari to a plate. Gar­nish with freshly picked dill and sprin­kle bread crumbs over top.

Serves 4.

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