Or maybe calarmari puttanesca is more appetizing. (Says a woman who posted a photo of headcheese on her website, what could she possibly know about appetizing.)
Either way, this is what we had for dinner Sunday night.
I got the squid at the farmers' market at Grand Army Plaza the day before (the fish folks are back, hurrah!) and spend a chunk of Sunday wondering how I was going to cook it.
Objective #1: Make it delectable. I always start here.
Objective #2: Use up stuff in the fridge, because I'm my mother's daughter and she grew up during the Depression. And there's lots of good stuff crammed on the shelves if I can just remember it's there.
Objective #3: Try and get my 2 1/2 year old to eat it. Okay, to taste it. Given that she loves salmon roe, it's possible, right? I started the eat-squid campaign earlier in the day, at the Prospect Park Zoo. While cooing at the sea lions, I noticed that the sign said squid was part of their diet. So I told Dahlia that sea lions love squid. Then all the way home, we pretended to be sea lions. So when dinner was served, I hoped she would do as the sea lions do and gobble up the squid. Hey, it worked with getting her to eat carrots (we are bunnies!), celery (we are guinea pigs!), and cheese and nuts (we are mice!).
Anyway, I'd recently tested a pasta puttanesca recipe for the up and coming, soon-to-be fantastic Franny's Coookbook (no publication date set yet, it's a ways away). So in my fridge were the leftovers - the olives, the canned diced tomatoes, the capers. I decided to try a variation that used squid instead of anchovies, and whole-wheat Israeli couscous instead of bucatini, and lots of garlic, just because.
Daniel and I thought it was pretty terrific.
And Dahlia liked it too. If you ask her, she will tell you that she ate up all the squid. But in reality, she ate the couscous (which I called pasta bubbles to further establish the undersea theme), and the olives and capers. I don't think so much as one tender tentacle passed her lips. But even so, I'm encouraged because if she thinks she ate squid, and thinks she likes it, surely snacking on baskets of fried calamari is just around the corner.
Here's What You Do: Squid Puttanesca
Fry up some leftover spring onions, minced fine, in good olive oil. Don't forget to season with salt and pepper, but not with too much crushed red pepper flakes (see objective #3). (Note that Franny's does not add onion to their puttanesca but I needed to use them up to meet objective #2. Shallots are a good substitute for spring onions.)
Add some minced green olives, minced garlic, and drained capers to the pan; fry for a minute. Add about a cup of diced tomatoes. At Franny's they drain the juices but I didn't bother. Simmer on high heat until the sauce is thick-ish, about 5 minutes.
Add the squid, which you've rinsed and sliced into thin rings. Add some whole-wheat Israeli couscous that you've blanched in salted boiling water for about 3 minutes, just enough to cook it until it's nearly done but not quite (think, extra-al dente). You could also use other pasta here, just add it to the pan with the squid to finish cooking it. That's why Andrew does it at Franny's, it helps the pasta fully absorb the flavors of the sauce.
Let squid cook until just opaque, 1-2 minutes or so. This should be enough time to finish cooking the Israeli couscous (you hope because you don't want to overcook the squid but you also don't want to eat crunchy couscous....it's a complicated little dance, this cooking thing).
Serve at once, with some sauteed Tuscan kale if you want your plate to look like the one above. Which looked a lot better in person. Or is that in sea lion?