SAUTEED  CALAMARI  STEAK | Keeping it Simple


                                                  


Calamari – What is it?  It is the body of a large Squid with no head; a great protein food source low in fat often referred to as Humboldt Squid.  It is tough and rubbery and always should be tenderized before cooking unless you use a slow cook method.  Sometimes available fresh in fish markets, but most often purchased frozen.  It can also be purchased online.  The frozen product usually comes tenderized, but I always hit it again with a meat mallet to be sure my finished dish will be tender.  This tenderizing step is similar to my Abalone preparation.  The steaks I use are five to six ounce portions, about a quarter inch thick.  Price per pound fluctuates with market but fairly consistent at $5.00 per pound.  Grab your apron and head to the kitchen – let’s get cookin’.

METHOD:

Thaw steak overnight in refrigerator or to thaw quickly, place in a container of cold water for about 15 minutes until pliable.

TENDERIZING:

Place steak between two sheets of cling film and lightly pound with meat mallet. It is best to pound from the edges and work toward the center. Don’t pound too firmly as the steak will tear and be difficult to work with.  It normally doubles in size after pounding.

BREADING:

Use the standard breading procedure. Dredge in seasoned flour, dip in egg wash, and then place in breading media to coat.  I use Panko, but crushed Saltine Crackers also work well.  During the breading, the thin steak may be a little difficult to work with. Don’t worry if it breaks in two, just bread both parts.  After breading, you can go right to sautéing then service.  The tenderized steak can be refrigerated an hour or so before cooking or wrapped and frozen for future use.  The quality is best if cooked soon after breading.  In many restaurants, it is breaded to order then sautéed.

SAUTEE:

Use Canola or Vegetable Oil.  Choose a frying pan large enough to accommodate the size of the steak. The oil should be approximately a quarter inch deep and brought up to temperature before placing steak in pan.  Do not deep fry.  Oil should lightly sizzle when steak is sautéed and not crackle like a house afire. If that happens, the oil is too hot.  The best way to check oil temp is to lower the edge of the steak into the oil and it should gently sizzle then place the whole steak in. If there is no sizzle, the oil is not hot enough so wait for the temperature to come up.  Sautee on both sides until golden brown, this should not take more than four minutes. If the steak starts to curl during cooking or if it gets an air pocket underneath it, cut the edge or pierce the pocket with a paring knife until the steak lays flat.

FINISH:

When cooking is finished and steak is plated up, drizzle one or two tablespoons of melted butter and a squeeze of fresh lemon over the top. Garnish with fresh chopped Parsley; best served immediately.

CHEF’S NOTE:

If you’re serving several people and don’t have room on the stove, it’s okay to hold the cooked steaks in a 200 degree oven until served (best no more than 10 minutes).  On the yacht, we accompany this dish with fresh tartar sauce or a homemade Arrabbiata Sauce with Angel Hair Pasta.  Dish pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Chardonnay or a nice Pinot Noir.

Butta Bing, Butta Boom!

Chef Len

 

 

” W T F “. Where’s the food ?

WTF.
More often than not those three letters conjure up a much different meaning than “where’s the food” . Those three letters can go before a statement adding an extra punch to comments that are “unbelievable” , “a total surprise” , ” frustrating” , “angry” or any number of  emotions one might experience in our daily lives.  For the purpose of this my first blog pertaining to “Yacht Food Experiences” . I choose to highlight the more positive and complimentary side of the “WTF” expression. If you will a “WTF” spoken with laughter and joy.

By placing WTF in  front of  “Thats unbelievable  , How does he do it?  , I’m totally surprised,  or How  delicious was that ” ,  I think you get the drift.  So WTF let’s get into the meat of this first of many blogs to  follow – and begin sharing food experiences onboard the motor yacht  Papagallo II.

As the owner and chef onboard during charters , most of my time is spent in a 66 sq. ft. space , that’s 6ft. wide  by 11ft. long . It’s called the galley. During peak service times , especially wine pairing dinners , I share the space with two servers, my wife Midge and Jeanette who also doubles as a line handler. With the close quarters it is not unusual bumping butts in the heat of the battle of a five course pairing.

The galley is equipped with all electric equipment ( Coast Guard requirement)  consisting of Jenn-Air range top (four elements) , three rack oven , microwave, dishwasher, two door refrigerator / freezer combo, and a 26 lb. capacity ice machine.

My cooking style and recipes have evolved over the last 50 plus years (Yes 50 , I began my career at age 13). That style is very intuitive . I take ,  measurements by eye, check flavors and textures by taste , and know aromas by nose. With our time and space restraints onboard “Mise en Place” and pin point timing is essential in creating a  memorable experience for the guest cruising with us.

While we are cruising , many guests will peek into the galley or peer  through the galley window on the port side to check out the symphony of movement taking place as the night’s fare is plated up for service. Their voices muttered in soft tones express astonishment at the dishes we are able to create in the cramped conditions. This is when we begin to hear the  compliments after a couple of courses and glasses of wine. A favorite is “WTF , how do they do what they do in that space? ” or “WTF, I thought the food was catered in.

Once in a while we hear a “Holy Shit” that was fantastic! 

When the cruise is over and we assist the guest off the yacht amidst much hugging, hand shaking, fist bumps, air kissing, and broad smiles , the comment that overwhelmingly wins the day is; “The Cruise was Magical.” That’s just fine with us reinforcing the fact that we have done our best , a job well done. So , WTF. Where’s The Food ?

Stay tuned for my next blog,

Chef Len