Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Monday Dinner - Fried Calamari and Tilapia

I love fried calamari. To some, it might seem icky - all those tentacles just waving back at you. If you don't like the tentacles, though, you can always just toss 'em and only fry up the white parts. The best calamari I've ever had was on Mykonos in the Greek islands. Unfortunately, we don't get fresh Greek squid here in the States (that I know of), so we usually buy it frozen from Zupans. It makes a great, quick appetizer. You'll probably make a bit of a mess, as all frying involves so keep a towel handy.
1 frozen package of calamari (body and tentacles)
1 TBSP Salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1 TSP dried parsley2 TBSP Shredded Parmesan cheese3 C. Flour
1 quart oil for frying (we use Canola oil)
Marinara sauce (we used the jarred kind)1 Lemon, cut up into wedges
Defrost calamari and cut the bodies into rings about 1/2 inch thick.

Preheat your oil in a large heavy bottom skillet or fry pan to about 350 degrees.
Put flour, salt, pepper, dried parsley and parmesan into a shallow dish.

Dredge the calamari in the flour mixture and carefully drop it into the hot oil. Fry for about a minute, stirring lightly.

Remove from the oil and let drain on paper towel lined plate. Serve immediately with marinara sauce and lemon wedges.

Tilapia gets a bad rap, I think. I've heard it referred to as a "junk fish". I like it because it is light, tasty and healthy not to mention cheap. This farm-raised fish, which is available year-round, is rated a "best" choice when raised in the US, a "good" choice when raised in Central America and a "poor" choice when it comes "from China and Taiwan, where escapes, pollution and weak management are common." When shopping for tilapia, look for US raised tilapia filets in the fish case.
I love tilapia simply prepared with just olive oil, freshly grated black pepper and of course coarse salt (I try not to use Morton's unless I'm baking). It is great on the grill - but you can also sear it in a heavy bottomed cast iron skillet. We ate ours with grilled asparagus and medium grain white rice (a staple in our house!). We had a bottle of Clois Du Bois chardonnay, too - it's great with any fish.

Tilapia (serves two):
Two tilapia fillets
Few tablespoons of olive oil
Coarse Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper
Preheat your grill or skillet to high. If you're grilling, use half a lemon and wipe the grill with the cut side. It will help clean off any gunk and lend a nice lemony flavor to the fish.

Brush all sides of the fish liberally with olive oil. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spray grill or skillet with non-stick cooking spray.

Turn your grill or skillet down to medium-high. Grill or sear on each side about 5 minutes. Be careful when you flip the fish, it has a tendency to fall apart. We use a big spatula to get under the whole fillet and then flip it real quick.
Serve immediately, with lemon slices.

Grilled Asparagus with Goat Cheese:1 bunch asparagus
Olive oil
Freshly ground pepper
Goat cheese crumbles

Bend the asparagus until it snaps. Each spear cuts off in its own place. It's sort of magical how each spear snaps off right above the spot where the asparagus turns woody. You may feel like you're wasting half the stalk, but trust, the woody end is not good eats. You can keep the ends for vegetable stock if you'd like - or compost it!

Put asparagus in a Ziploc bag and add olive oil (about 3 tablespoons), salt and freshly ground pepper. Give it a good shake.

Right when you put the fish on the grill, add the asparagus laying them across the grate so they don't fall in. After you flip the fish (after 5 minutes) turn each spear over once and let them grill for another 5 minutes. They should have dark brown or black spots indicating caramelization. This is good.

Remove them from the grill and top with goat cheese crumbles.

No comments: