There is nothing that compares to cooking with fresh fish. Being about 700km away from the coast, it can be quite difficult to get your hands on a piece of fresh fish to enjoy. Luckily, fishmongers in Johannesburg get deliveries every week, fresh from the ocean and we city slickers can also have the chance to enjoy these lovely, wholesome ingredients.
On my recent trip to my favorite fishmonger, I decided to purchase a whole calamari. Yep, tentacles and everything. Luckily they can clean the whole piece of fish for you, and all the tough work is done, they removed the ink sack and intestines for me – thank goodness. However I was keen to experiment with the rest of the whole calamari at home.
So this was a big learning curve for me as I NEVER worked with a whole calamari before.
This is what I did:
First off, I used a sharp knife to remove the tentacles.
Then I literally ripped off the flappy wings attached to the squid – it comes off quite easily.
I removed the thin piece of flesh that covers the squid by rinsing it under warm water and gently stripped this thin piece of skin off with my fingers. It basically just pulls off of the squid, so you just need to use your hands to pull it off.
I was left with a whole piece of steak and the tentacles.
My idea with this dish was to have the tenderest pieces of calamari steak that I could master, and browsing around the internet a few sites recommended marinating the calamari in milk overnight. I had to do it. I was disappointed not to have Grilled Calamari for dinner that night, but I really didn’t want to have tough pieces of fish, I covered my squid with milk and kept it in the fridge overnight.
The next day I was keen on getting started, I drained the liquid from the squid, butterflied the steak, poked it a few times with a sharp knife, and cut it into square pieces – with the tentacles.
I chucked it all into a mixing bowl, and squeezed fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil over the pieces. You HAVE to have fresh lemon!
Hubby took over the cooking part, so we decided to make lovely lemon butter with fresh parsley to go with our calamari. While preparing our butter, we had the wok on the stove top to get HOT HOT HOT.