A last taste of Spanish summer before I pack up my household and move it back to Germany (blogging will be a little sketchy for a while due to that) – calamares a la plancha. I am making them in spite of the winter weather – looking out of the window as I write this, I see falling snowflakes and snowy mountaintops – which couldn’t arrive at a more inopportune movement.
But before I will get into the car onto icy roads for several days, here is a culinary farewell to my temporary home. This recipe comes with the “Double Cry” guarantee: you’ll weep once because it’s so easy to make, and then again because it tastes so good. The only flaw is that you have to live in a place where fresh calamares are sold. Not the case in Germany, which is why I’m eating them here as much as I can.
Calamares a la plancha (makes appetizer for two)
- 4 small, fresh calamari (6-10/kg size)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 small dried red chili
- juice of half a lemon
- 1/2 tbsp. chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- Start by cleaning the calamari, which is a lot easier than expected (look up YT videos in case of doubt): gently intriduce two fingers into the tube and draw out the tentacles, head and intestines. Set aside. Draw the “spine” (looks like a piece of transparent plastic) out of the tube. Wash the tube inside and out, removing last bits of intestines. Cut through the head right underneath the eyes, discard the part with the eyes and the intestines. From the rest of the head, cut the two long tentacles that feel squishier than the others and remove the “beak” in the middle. That’s it! You know have two comestible parts of calamar in front of you.
- Peel and slice the garlic, crumble the chili to bits (in gloves or with a knife), put both in a pan.
- Add the olive oil and heat up, rem0ving the garlic when it starts to turn lightly golden at the edges. Better too soon than to late!
- Pad the calamari dry really well.
- Make sure the pan is on high heat, add the calamari to the same oil you used to sweat the garlic.
- Time is of essence: depending on the size, toast the calamari 1-2 minutes from each site. Press down onto the tubes with spatula at times, they tend to blow up, which means some parts won’t touch the pan which means they would otherwise remain raw. Basically, it’s just a quick toss-and-turn.
- When the edges brown and your moths starts watering, add the garlic to the pan again, give it another 20-30 seconds, then pull off the fire.
- Add the parsley and lemon juice, toss briefly once more and serve immediately.
- With fresh, crunchy baguette, this makes a great appetizer, with a side of garlic spaghetti, it makes a light and easy lunch.