From the traditional calamari fritti to some sticky and caramelized squid in a Vietnamese stir-fry: I love squid in all its glorious versatility. The following recipes are no exception. The first one is an eccentric explosion of flavours; a harmonious sing-along of pistachio, coriander and parsley. Whereas the second recipe is exhuberantly hearty, a Cajun-spiced one-pot wonder.
If you’re a seafood expert who loves getting his or her hands stuck in some slimy tentacles, be my guest to clean the squid all be yourself. (The satisfaction will be even greater!) But if you’re a squid nitwit or someone who just got her nails done (like me), there is no shame in asking the fish monger to do it for you. It will make cooking these recipes even easier than they already are.
Kamut linguini with pistachio pesto and smoky squid
I love kamut pasta, because this ancient wheat gives the pasta an incredibly satisfying earthy flavour. (Plus: it is a wholegrain pasta, which means it is really good for you!) The pesto is a nice alternative to the traditional basil-pine nut version and goes beautifully with the smokiness of the squid.
Ingredients (serves 4):
- 350gr kamut linguini
- 4 squid tubes
- ¼ tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- 2 yellow courgettes, diced
- 250gr cherry tomatoes
For the pistachio pesto:
- 60gr pistachios
- Lots of fresh coriander
- Lots of fresh flat leaf parsley
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- Blend all the ingredients for the pesto together in an electric mixer and season with salt and pepper. Add enough olive oil to form a paste but it shouldn’t be runny.
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and fry the courgette for a couple of minutes. Add the halved cherry tomatoes.
- Meanwhile cook the kamut linguini al dente. Drain but keep 100ml of the starchy cooking liquid.
- Stir the cooked pasta in the vegetables and add the pistachio pesto. Now pour in the cooking liquid so that the pesto transforms into a lovely glossy pasta coating.
- Wait until the very last minute to cook your squid. Cut the squid into 0,5 cm strip. Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan and when the pan is scorching hot, add the squid, smoked paprika and chili flakes. Season with salt. Fry for no more than 3 minutes.
- Scoop a large serving of pasta onto your plate and put your delicious squid on top.
Cajun-spiced rice with squid and brown shrimp
Just like the recipe above, I used brown rice for this one, because it just has so much more flavour and adds a really gutsy element to the dish. (You know what they say: No guts, no Glory!) This dish is inspired by the world famous Jambalayah but contains no meat, only seafood. The blend of spices together with the heartiness of the rice and the sweetness of the seafood is incredibly comforting…
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 300gr brown rice
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 200gr green beans, chopped into 2cm pieces
- 1 yellow pepper, sliced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 3-4 tbsp Cajun spice (depending on how spicy you want it)
- 400gr or one can of chopped tomatoes
- 3 squid tubes, cut into strips
- 200gr brown shrimps
- 150gr crayfish
- Fresh coriander
- Vegetable stock (approx. 750ml)
- Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large pan and sauté the onion for a minute. Add the rice and fry for a further minute or two. Stir in the green beans and peppers and add the chopped tomatoes. Add the Cajun spice.
- Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for at least 45 minutes. Until your rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed. (It should not be a stew but it should not be completely dry either. Just the right amount of moisture. It’s a tricky thing, but follow your gut 😉 )
- In a separate pan fry the squid with some extra Cajun spice and salt. Stir the squid, shrimps and crayfish into your rice and finish with lemon juice and chopped coriander.