Saturday, 7 June 2014

Love Me Tender

Calamaretti "Ananas" con Peperone, Peperoncino con gusto di Gamberetti & Vermicelli
Pineapple Squid with Peppers, Shrimp-Chili Flakes & Flour Vermicelli


This was a bit of a strange combination... weird and yet most definitely wonderful! I took some "pineapple-cut" squid, combined it with Turkish peppers, Japanese vermicelli noodles, Thai shrimp-flavored chili flakes and Chinese Hoisin sauce... and boy- was it ever good!


I like being playful, adventurous and inquisitive in the kitchen- to me, half of the fun of cooking is the improvisation, combining different ingredients and ideas and coming up with something new and different.


Here are the main ingredients for this dish... 4 pineapple-cut squid, 1 bundel of Japanese flour vermicelli, 2 small Turkish peppers (or similar), I young onion, about 1" of ginger, fresh coriander and Thai chili flakes with shrimp.


Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, "pineapple" squid are so wonderful! Each and every one of those fine cuts is responsible for a little extra tenderness once the squid is cooked- and that is a lot of tenderness going on there!

The most wonderful thing about about these little beauties though, is that you can buy them deep frozen at the Asian supermarkets... and trust me- that is exactly what you should do! Because they are absolutely impossible for mere Western mortals to cut that way for themselves!


You are going to need to do a little chopping of course, as is always the way with Asian or Asian-influenced food... but that is also part of the fun! Nothing complicated going on though here- I cut the ends of the onions into quarters as they were so think and cut the rest into slices, removed the seeds from the green peppers before slicing them, finely sliced the ginger and coarsely sliced the coriander... easy!


This is a very easy dish to prepare, but as always, it is all about timing... so this is how you do it.

Pre-boil the squid before frying for 10 minutes and chop up your vegetables during that time. Next, set the squid to one side and bring a little water to the boil again for the noodles. Once the water boils, add the noodles and turn off the heat... there will be enough residual heat in the water to cook the noodles through without overcooking them, whilst you finish the rest of the preparation.


Fry the squid at a high heat in a little peanut oil until it starts to turn golden and brown... peanut oil is great for this as its boiling and smoke point are at a much higher temperature than many other oils.

Once it is crispy, add the rest of the ingredients and toss until everything is nicely mixed. Keep frying until the ginger begins to turn golden and then deglaze the pan with a splash of water and cover. Turn off the heat but leave the pan on the stove top... the water will turn to steam, which will cook everything through and keep all of the flavors in.

In the meantime, drizzle the noodles with a little sesame oil, add a little lime juice and serve them up, ready for all of the other good stuff to be added on top!


Add a good squeeze of lime juice to the squid and vegetables and a little sesame oil before serving. Sprinkle generously with the shrimp-chili flakes, drizzle with Hoisin sauce and finish off with fresh coriander and toasted sesame seeds.

Oh yes... you are going to enjoy this! Every bit as much as I did!

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