Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Basque Calamari

Welcome to Pescatarian Tuesday

I know you are expecting a vegetarian dish on Tuesday, but I thought I would switch things up and highlight our friends who live off the sea. This dish was inspired by one of the greatest chefs of all time and the Chef of the Century in France…Joel Robuchon.

Squid is a wonderful protein to cook. They have tentacles, and both the bodies and the tentacles are eaten; I do not serve the heads. Clean the squid thoroughly inside the body or the tube as it called. Outside of the tube are these two wing-looking things, cut those off. Now, slice the tubes into 1/3 inch wide rings, or thicker if you’d like. The tentacles are not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like to dice them and serve them in a sauce.

Espelette pepper is a beloved chili pepper from the Basque region of France. It is not exactly cheap but you can find it online. This dish comes together through the herbs and clam juice producing an amazing broth to compliment the squid. Mission figs add a final unexpected sweet contrast. I used capellini pasta which I think works perfect here; however feel free to substitute your favorite pasta shape. This course could even work great with rice.

Basque Calamari

For the Squid:
1 lb cleaned squid
Tubes – cut into rings
Tentacles – diced

For the Broth:
2 tbs olive oil
1 red bell pepper – diced
1 white onion – diced
4 cloves garlic – sliced thin on mandoline
1 leek – (white and light green parts only) – sliced thin on mandoline
4 vine ripened tomatoes – peeled & diced

Fresh Herb Bundle – tied together with butchers twine

8 oz clam juice
Vinagre de Jerez – Spanish Sherry vinegar
2 bay leaf
Fleur de Sel
Espelette pepper

Keep the squid cold in the refrigerator. In a saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pepper and cook for 2 minutes. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes more. Add the leeks and garlic cook for 2 minutes.

Turn heat to low. Add the clam juice, tomatoes, herb bundle, and bay leaf. Season with sea salt and Espelette pepper. Add vinegar to taste and acidity level desired. Add the squid rings and tentacles. Gently simmer for 35 minutes.

Cook the capellini pasta to al dente. Cut the Mission figs into quarters.

To Plate:

1. Using a carving fork twirl the pasta into a neat ball.

2. Plate in the center of the bowl

3. Generously spoon the broth over the pasta

4. Add some of the squid

5. Top with some of the Mission figs

6. Garnish with thyme flowers and edible flowers

Lastly, weeks ago my blogger friend Dawn at The Alternate Wife posted about a daring haircut she had back in the day.  Well, for the last few weeks I have been rummaging everywhere trying to find this photo...one of my favorites!

That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!


  1. I love this Pescatarian term! I have learned to appreciate this calamari in the past five years, outside of fried! Love this...oh and as an ex-hairdresser, I love the cut too! Too funny...

  2. Originally I am from the coast and squid is definitely one of my favourite dishes.
    Delicious dish.
    Peace for you too ♥

  3. At first I thought is a deep fried calamari but your dish looks so delicious and colorful. Very nice presentation.
    Your hair cut looks nice and funny ;D

  4. Wow there's a picture for keepsake to show your grandchildren ....nice hair doo are you sure that was back in the day or is this a recent photo.......... kind of threw me for a minute there. I love going back and seeing the 80's pictures of me and big hair from NY...
    I love your soup, the clear broth to see all that wonderful calamari and noodles looks awesome nice job~ and actually the hair looked pretty good too!

  5. Lovely calamari. It's amazing how many people think of calamari and fried comes to mind. I would have never recognized you! Sure that's you? Audi's Dad?

  6. Ha! Love the pic. You are one of the few people who I think could actually pull that 'do off!

  7. Yes you must tell us when you had that hair cut!! As for myself, I am so glad I don't have any photos of some of my ... ahem ... experiments with hair color back in the day! As for your dish - just beautiful. So clean and flavorful. I love squid, what a great presentation!

  8. That is definitely a look, Lazaro! Squid is a little scary and I buy it already done for that reason.. can't wait to try it in this recipe since it is so low calorie and high protein. That espelette pepper is the best and makes anything taste great.

  9. Great picture--gave me a big smile!

    The calamari looks fantastic. I love dishes like this with punchy fresh flavors!

  10. I love squid. Out here on the prairies I can only buy frozen tubes! Oh well, this would dress them up.

  11. Fun haircut! I once gelled up all of my bangs to get a Mohawk look. The BF (at the time) also had one--it was a fun photograph moment.

    love the flower in the presentation picture!

  12. A very pretty dish which I'm sure is delicious. I like how one of the flowers looks kind of like a butterfly haha.

    Nice picture. :P

  13. I'd love to try this. I love anything with tomatoes and culantro.

    My most daring haircut was way back in the 90s. Like a lot of women during that time, I sported the Rachel (from "Friends") haircut. I'm starting to cringe when I look at it!

  14. Haha! Love the picture!

    Now this is a different dish I've never seen before. Beautiful colours and presentation too. Twirling the pasta in a ball was a nice touch. Calamari is one of those seafoods that I love no matter how it's done. Wonderful dish!

  15. LOVE it Lazaro!!! You totally rock it! :)

    And that dish looks amazing. Delish!

    Happy Tuesday :)

  16. I never cooked Squid but this dish look very fresh!I love the use of herb bunch and the thyme flower!
    Cool hair cut Lazaro!

  17. The calamari looks fantastic. I'm craving fish like mad this week! So glad you're highlighting the seas bounty!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma, What's For Dinner

  18. Hahaha before I get to the food, what is that photo!?!? are you sure it's from the past and not present? C'mon Laz. hehe. Nice cut and yes daring haircut! :)

    It's def' for a seafood lover! I love soup with noodle. Well pasta falls into my noodle category. I also like a texture and chewy of squid! Is squid your fav? seen you cooked with squid a couple dishes. Nice tough with the fig and flower!

  19. OMG.....what a great haircut....I threatened to get one now, but I told my wife it would be more like a dotted line with my lack of hair...lol...I could start a new trend!!!
    And as usual your post is spectacular...
    thanks so much for all your hard work and for your friendship!

  20. I love calamari. Very appealing presentation. The edible flowers make it 'so special'.

    Yo, what's with the hairdoo! Wow! You carry it well...cause you are a handsome young man! :D


  21. Hi Lazaro, I'm back again! I am loving your 'do! Badass! And of course, your dishes are always so well presented. I don't like when restaurants only serve the rings of the squid, the tentacles are the best (tenderest part) Dang, now i'm hungry, what am I doing here at 4pm when I always get hungry?!

  22. The calamari dish looks exquisite, all the lovely ingredients working together! Yes!

    You can pull the "do" off! Nice cut! :D

  23. Is that a photo of you? ANyway - excellent recipe. I hope I can find that pepper when I amin Paris next week. If it is from the Basque region, let's hope they have it in Paris... but, I know they may not.

  24. Lazaro, that photo is awesome! I wish I could show you my Irish Afro. Maybe I should send you a pic. It's from about 3 years ago, so it's a somewhat recent photo. Your wife and you could laugh at me (smile)...
    This dish looks so good by the way. Did you know I used to live in Spain? I went to Spanish Basque country. But I never crossed into France. It was right there though just over the mountains.

  25. Such a light and fresh way to cook squid. The whole dish looks divine and the pretty little flowers give a darling touch. I see that your creativity is not just applied to your brilliant food but also to your past hairstyles ;) Priceless picture! Good look :)

  26. calamari is defs one of my favourites! This looks really yummy, I've always been freaked out to cook it myself considering the thought of turning it into inedible rubber! hehe.

    Nice haircut btw!

  27. I love your photo (better than calamari, but then I don't like calamari!). Very cool pic!

  28. Lazaro!!!! you must be reading my mind, I just made a basque dish a "piperade revisited" for a magazine! I love love your dish (let's talk about your haircut later), everything is just a harmony of flavors, the figs do add a very special note and I know the broth infused with so many fragrant ingredients must be incredible...I found piment d'espelette at Whole Foods. It seems like you are just cooking for me :o) - was that the haircut of the rebel years? I think I like it a little longer on the ears :o)

  29. Your photo is splendid, Lazaro! :-) I love noodles like this and the calamari sounds like the perfect accompaniment.

  30. How about that doo? Made me smile!

    I'm crazy about squid. I've had it many ways, but for some odd reason, never in a soup. (The figs are a most interesting addition.)

    When I think of Basque food. I always think tomatoes, peppers and seafood and you have them all.
    LOVE espelette pepper!!!

  31. Great photo of you, Lazaro! I've only had squid a handful of times but I've always enjoyed it. Looks delicious in this dish!

  32. I would like to get my hands on some squid and try this dish, it sounds perfect!

  33. great squid, love the simple clean broth, and topped off with figs, superb...oh rock on with ya bad self...love the hair!!


  34. You've made me come out of my blog shell for a bit Lazaro ;)
    First, the dish looks sensational! Love how you incorporate flowers into your dishes. The only flowers nearby besides at the grocery store are the weeds growing in our yard. Ugly.
    And LOVING the hair! It's so badass. Represent!

  35. Very cool picture ;) My most daring haircut was when I was 20 - I had about as much fuzz on my head as a kiwifruit, and I coloured it carrot orange ROFL Ah, youth!!!

    I love the flavours in the broth and anyone who knows me knows I am a huge squid fan! I would love to have that bowl, all to myself, no question!

  36. flavours + fun all at one place.

  37. I so need to find my photos from when I had very short navy blue hair with an electric blue fringe...


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