Last Christmas, our family decided to do an authentic "Feast of the Seven Fishes" Christmas Eve dinner (http://en.wikipedia.org...). The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a big deal in parts of the Pittsburgh area where I grew up, and people spend weeks preparing for it. My family is not the least bit Italian, which is where this tradition started, but a seven course seafood dinner sure sounded good to us!! Besides, it was a lot of fun planning the recipes and spending the day in the kitchen making different courses with my sisters and my Mom. One of my sisters brought a block of frozen baby squid. They were too small to stuff the tubes, but if you slice them open and pan fry them briefly, they curl up into little cups which you can fill with stuffing and bake. They were a real hit as one of many courses of appetizers. If you use adult squid, you can omit frying them, and just stuff them and bake them. The little squid scoops were fun though. —Burnt Offerings
about 2 dozen
1 1/2 pounds
Baby squid tubes, cleaned, tentacles reserved for another purpose
flour, seasoned with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper
3 slices bacon or 6 slices pancetta, chopped
plus 2 tsp olive oil, divided
finely chopped onion
medium carrot, peeled and chopped fine
large fennel bulb, chopped fine
clove of garlic, minced
fennel seeds, crushed
Fresh parsley, minced
dry white wine
grape tomatoes, halved
good Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese, grated
In This Recipe
Preheat oven to 350'
Slice through the calamari tubes on one side to create a flat piece. Thoroughly dry each piece and set aside on a plate - do not overlap.
Dredge each piece in the seasoned flour and place on a plate - do not overlap, they'll stick like crazy. Lesson learned. Set the floured squid pieces aside.
Make the stuffing: Sauté the bacon in a scant teaspoon of the olive oil until just starting to crisp at the edges. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
Put the onion in the pan and sauté for about five minutes, adding another tsp of olive oil if needed. Add the carrots and chopped fennel and cook another four or five minutes until the vegetables are cooked but still have a little crunch left in them. Remove the mixture to a bowl to cool, and add the drained cooked bacon.
Once the vegetables have cooled, add the crabmeat, garlic, crushed fennel seeds, oregano, parsley, eggs, fish sauce, hot sauce and panko flakes to the bowl and mix with a fork. Season to taste if needed. The fish sauce and hot sauce act at salt and pepper here, so use them to correct the seasoning.
Add 2 TBL olive oil to the pan, and heat until the oil is hot but not smoking. Brown the calamari tubes quickly on both sides and remove to a plate. They will curl up into little scoops, or cups at this point.
Add the wine and tomatoes to the pan, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about five minutes.
Meanwhile, scoop about a TBL of stuffing into each calamari cup, and place them in an oiled baking dish. I found a melon ball scoop or rounded spoon works well.
Drizzle the wine/tomato sauce over the stuffed calamari and bake for about 15 minutes. Turn on the broiler, top each stuffed calamari with a few shreds of the cheese, and broil about 3-4" from the heat for two or three minutes, with the oven door open, until the cheese melts and starts to bubble.
Serve immediately. These are also good drizzled with a little good balsamic vinegar.