It always amazes me the reaction I get from my Anglo brethren when the subject of squid as an edible comes up. It’s usually: “Yuk—Ugh–Ick!”—or another negative reaction. And this surprises me. In Latin American, Caribbean and Mediterranean cuisine, squid is something that is treasured. Growing up in Spanish Harlem, we ate a lot of it. Mainly because it was cheap, and nutritious. And I still eat it regularly. Especially now when you can get cleaned and prepared squid in almost any market. Gone are the days when you had to clean the squid, remove the tentacles and mouth from the head; pull out the innards; discard head and viscera and, finally, wash the inside of the body thoroughly. Yes, a time-consuming task. So, as a result, we eat squid more often, as with this classic recipe, Calamares con Pimento or Squid with Bell Pepper. In this dish you can use any bell pepper type you like be it green pepper, yellow, red, or a combination of each.
For nomenclature purposes, bell peppers are also known as “pimentos.” In Spanish we call them pimientos. I’m told that in Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand and Pakistan they are know as capsicum. Whatever terminology used, this recipe can’t be beat when bell peppers are coupled with squid. Let me add that when we cook this dish, we serve it over yellow rice. Bur you can pair it with whatever grain you like, be it quinoa, couscous, farro or even pasta. The beauty of this dish is in its versatility.
CALAMARES CON PIMIENTO
(Squid with Bell Pepper)
2 pound cleaned squid
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
8-oz. can tomato sauce
¼ teaspoon coriander powder
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large frypan or skillet, heat the oil and add the garlic and onion. Sauté over medium and cook until onion is soft and translucent. Add the bell peppers and sauté for 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cut the body of the cleaned squid into ½-inch rings. Add the rings and tentacles (cut up) to the peppers and toss for 2 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Add the coriander and salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings.