May 31, 2007

Pan-Fried Squid with Lemons and Pagrattato

My craving for white wine continues as temperature keeps surging. To be a bit more refreshing, I was looking into making seafood.

From one of my favorite cook books "Jamie's Italy", I found this extremely simple and satisfying recipe. In the past, Italian used pangrattato as a substitute for Parmesan as some people couldn't afford it. Its crunchy texture goes perfectly with soft texture of the squid, just like having fish and chips.
Pangrattato is basically fried or toasted breadcrumbs in garlic oil. Great to make if you have stale breadcrumbs around. I made my own breadcrumbs by toasting the stale baguette before blending it finely in the food processor.

Instead of drizzling lemon juice over the squid before serving, one interesting way to make this dish is to pan-fried the squid with the lemon. The heat helps the squid to absorb the juice evaporated from the lemon. And the zinginess of the lemon actually turns a bit sweet into the squid which was a nice surprise!

(serves 4)
4 baby squid, trimmed, cleaned and sliced (I used frozen baby squid tubes)
1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
1-2 fresh red chilies, prickled
6 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
2 large handfuls of stale breadcrumbs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
good splash of olive oil
a handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped

To make pangrattao, put 6 tbsp of oil in to a thick-bottomed pan. Add the whole chilies, garlic and breadcrumbs and stir for a couple of minutes, until the breadcrumbs are crisp and golden. Season with a little salt and pepper, and drain on paper towels.

Wipe the pan with paper towel and put it back on a high heat.

Add a good splash of oil, then season the squid and lay them gently in the hot pan with the lemon slices. If you can't fit them all in, cook them in 2 batches, you don't want them all cramped together.

Fry for a minute or so, until golden, then turn the squid over and fry for the same amount of time on the other side.

The lemons will color and need to be turned quicker than the squid, so just remove them from the pan and put to one side when they look like the ones in the picture.

Small squid should be cooked through in this time, but if your squid are large they'll need a bit longer.

Take the pan off the heat and divide the squid and lemon slices between your plates.

Scatter the pangrattato and the finely sliced parsley over the top of the squid.

Great served with a lightly arugula salad and a glass of cold white wine.


sandi @ the whistlestop cafe said...

The frozen and sliced squid are the only way to go! Have you ever tried cleaning and slicing those buggars?
Great recipe!

lululu said...

Hi, Sandi. Yes, I've tried once when I was in Hong Kong. It's pretty easy and not that scary as it sounds. Just frozen squids give no much difference then fresh ones in terms of taste after frying, so don't bother the hassle. :)

Kristen said...

I have never even considered making squid at home... it is just something I've always saved for restaurants. You make it sound like it isn't too hard. May have to give it a try!

lululu said...

Kristen, trust me. It just can't be easier!