Grilled Squid Stuffed with Rice and Shrimp
Now that squid are known as calamari, it's much easier to sell them to the American public. Granted, these are not battered and fried, but they are truly delicious. All of the Mediterranean countries have recipes for stuffed squid. Bread is usually used in Italy and France, and rice is the basis of the filling in Greece and Turkey.
There is no middle ground when cooking squid. You either cook them in a matter of moments or you cook them a long time; otherwise they will be tough and rubbery. For this dish you want to grill them quickly. Allow 2 or 3 small squid per person, and if you like, serve them on a bed of horta. Avoid large squid, because they will not be really tender.
1 1/2 pounds small to medium squid
5 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 pound small shrimp, shelled, deveined, and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
1 teaspoon minced garlic
112 cup long-grain rice, such as basmati
1 cup hot water
1/8 teaspoon crushed saffron filaments steeped in 2 tablespoons white wine
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2 or 3 tablespoons currants, plumped in hot water (optional)
Freshly grated zest of 1 large lemon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
I to 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup caper and garlic citrus dressing (see below)
To clean the squid, pull the heads from the bodies. Cut off the tentacles just above the eyes, and set aside. Push out the little round hard piece (the "beak") in the middle of the tentacles and discard. With a flat side of a knife, push down on the body of the squid to push out the squooshy innards. Discard them and then reach into the cavity, pull out the inner bone, and discard it. Scrape away the skin and wash the bodies well. Pat them dry. Chop the tentacles.
Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium saute pan over moderate heat.
Add the tentacles and chopped shrimp and saute for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add 2 more tablespoons olive oil to the pan and sauté the onion until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the rice, water, and saffron infusion, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, until the rice has absorbed all the liquids, about 20 minutes. Stir in the shrimp and tentacles, pine nuts, currants if using, lemon zest, parsley, and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cool the rice filling.
When the filling is cool, stuff it into the squid bodies and skewer them closed with toothpicks. You can do this a few hours before serving them and keep them in the refrigerator.
To serve, preheat a broiler or gas grill or make a fire in the charcoal grill. Thread the stuffed squid onto soaked wooden skewers.
Brush them with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill quickly, until they turn white, a few minutes on each side. Place on a platter and drizzle with caper citrus dressing. Serve immediately.
Caper and Garlic Citrus Dressing
4 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons finely minced garlic
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
Freshly ground black pepper
Sea salt, if needed
Combine the capers, lemon juice, and garlic in a bowl and whisk in the olive oil. Add pepper and salt to taste (remember that capers are salty).
Reprinted from Mediterranean Fresh: A Compendium of One Plate Salad Meals and Mix-and-Match Dressings by Joyce Goldstein. Copyright (c) 2008 by Joyce Goldstein. Photographs copyright (c) 2008 by Andre Baranowski. With permission of the publisher, W.W Norton & Company, Inc.