Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Whilst I remember eating many types of seafood in France - particularly scallops and sea-snails, which I preferred to their chewier land cousins - I don't recall eating much squid. Deep-fried squid simply has to be ordered as part of a tapas selection, but I don't really cook it; the result is that I don't eat much squid despite liking it. I wasn't sure where Simon stood on squid, but it seems he too has always been partial to those deep fried rubbery rings in our favouite tapas restaurant and he certainly didn't object to trying Jamie's pasta with squid.

I bought the squid not at a friendly local fishmonger, because those are nigh-impossible to locate within a working day, but at Sainsburys. I then cleaned the squid up, followed Jamie's instructions, scored it and then sliced it, which wasn't particularly pleasant (the initial parts, not the slicing). I am working on my tendency towards squeamishness but I haven't conquered it yet - in Biology at school, I was one of the girls who squealed and ran when a rat's head was placed unceremoniously on the lab bench for our perusal. It was always going to take me longer than those kids who poked and prodded it with curiosity, rather than fear. I suppose that sums me up: I veer towards being afraid of the visceral rather than wanting to explore it further, and it takes a lot for me to tip the balance the other way. I am trying, though. Anyway having sorted out the squid, I marinaded it briefly in lemon zest and juice, chopped red chilli, parsley, garlic, and olive oil. I cooked the linguine until al dente; while it was cooking, I tossed the squid and marinade into a hot pan and stirred before adding white wine and frozen peas and cooking until the peas were tender. After draining the pasta, I stirred it into the squid and sauce and added more olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and chopped mint.

Jamie says this is a summer dish - typical of me to make it on the second really cold day of the year so far. I can imagine how great it would be in the summer with a cold glass of white, but to be honest it was pretty good in December already! I found this dish intensely and vibrantly flavourful and I gobbled it down with shameless lack of restraint. I know squid isn't everyone's cup of tea and I can see why, but I love it - and the sous chef seemed to enjoy it a lot too. There was a time when I wouldn't have touched squid with a barge pole, but I did and it was definitely worth the effort and squeamishness. Another recipe to make again - probably not for visitors, because squid is controversial, but as a speedy and incredibly tasty week night dinner for us, I can see this being made again even before the sun threatens to shine again - which, to my frozen bones, seems a long, long way ahead.


FreyaE said...

Kathryn! This looks delicious! I love squid (although I've never tried sea snails). Have you ever used the ink for anything?
How are your teeth getting along now?
Freya x

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