Friday, August 6, 2010

Meze: Saffron Risotto-stuffed baby squid

Saffron Risotto-stuffed Calamari with Tri-Colored Pepper & Zebra Tomato salad

I picked up this little bargain cookbook quite awhile ago, and let me just say now, for the record, I don't know how on earth Amazon sellers would justify asking $57.95, and no...wait for it.. $135.71 for a cheap, paperback 64 page K├Ânemann cookbook. That's disgraceful. I think I paid $4 at most. At any rate, I digress.

I've made several recipes from Anne Wilson's Meze: Mediterranean-Style Eating, and while many of the recipes are labor-intensive (and some are missing list ingredients, ahem), most everything I've made has turned out well, including my first try with dolmades.

So tonight I decided to try the Saffron Risotto-stuffed Baby Squid, given the presence of calamari in my freezer and my great love for risotto. I left out two of the main ingredients for the risotto (leeks and fennel) and substituted a few other ingredients:

Saffron risotto-stuffed calamari (adapted from Anne Wilson, Meze: p. 50)

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 2 1/4 cup chicken broth (Wilson suggests vegetable stock)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or just use 3 tablespoons olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup arborio rice
  • a pinch of ground saffron
  • freshly ground pepper and salt
  • 16 calamari hoods
  • 3 lemons, sliced
1. Combine wine and broth in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
2. Heat the oil and butter (or just oil) in a heavy-based saucepan or skillet, and add the garlic, cooking over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the rice, stirring for 1 minute, making sure to coat the grains with the oil. Gradually add the hot broth mixture, one ladle at a time, stirring frequently until all the liquid has been absorbed before adding more.
4. When rice is tender, add saffron and season well with salt and pepper. Spread the risotto onto a flat tray to cool slightly.

5. Preheat the oven to 350F. Stuff each squid hood with two teaspoons of the risotto. {It was messy, but easier to just use my hands}. Be careful not to overfill the squid or they may split during cooking. Secure the top of each squid with a cocktail pick.

6. Line a baking sheet with foil, add the lemon slices and top with the stuffed squid. Cover and bake for 20 minutes, turning once, or until the squid are cooked and tender. Don't spoon the sauce over the squid as it is too bitter. (She's right! I tasted it to be sure). Discard the lemon and juices after cooking and serve the squid whole or cut into slices.

This was really quite a lovely recipe and great for summer. I imagine you could even serve it chilled. I cut a few of the calamari into rings, but would probably only take the time to present all of it this way if I was making this for company (it is time consuming, as you have to keep the risotto in the ring). If you have just a little bit of patience for the risotto and the stuffing, this is really a rather easy recipe!