Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Calamari Fritti (Fried Calamari) / Maltese klamar mimli / Squid information

Past a certain age, we can't exactly eat whatever we want.
If you're a Catholic of a certain age, you remember when The Church also had a say in your meals, especially during Lent.
There was a time when Wednesdays in Lent were also meatless days for Catholics.
If you don't remember those days, well, there'll be another Friday in Lent.
Or just another day when you'd like some seafood.

Dr. Jennifer Melfi has probably dealt with a few people who had some guilt issues.
Let's not forget that her chapter Rage, Guilt, Loneliness, and Food includes a bit from a research paper.  Fun stuff like…
Is it a sign of some deep-seated cultural neurosis?
Gee… Italians, Catholic Church rules and health orders from the doctor.
Guilt.  Yah think?

Jennifer's chapter Rage, Guilt, Loneliness, and Food in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook includes some very good seafood recipes.
Well, hand it to the doctor, she tries to help her patients any way she can.

Calamari, the plural form of the Italian word for squid, Calamaro, comes from the
Latin word calamarium for "ink pot", after the inky liquid that squid secrete.
The body (mantle) can be stuffed whole, cut into flat pieces or sliced into rings.
The arms, tentacles and ink are edible.
The only parts not eaten are its beak and gladius (pen).
Now you know.

It's just catching on in North American seafood restaurants.

Usually it's battered and deep fried for a couple of minutes to prevent toughness.
It can be served plain, with salt and lemon on the side.
It is also served as an appetizer, garnished with parsley, or sprinkled with parmesan cheese or served with dips: peppercorn mayonnaise, tzatziki, marinara sauce, tartar sauce, or cocktail sauce.

In Malta a popular dish is klamar mimli.
The squid is stuffed with rice, breadcrumbs, parsley, garlic and capers.
Then the stuffed squid is gently stewed in red wine.
Yes, we Maltese like to stuff vegetables, too.

If you don't have a deep-fry thermometer, test the oil by placing a small piece of calamari into the hot oil.
The calamari should sizzle and rise to the surface.
Do not crowd the pieces in the oil.  They won't fry properly.

                        Calamari Fritti

Serves 6 to 8

Rinse thoroughly inside and out
2 pounds calamari
Drain well.
Cut the bodies crosswise into 1/2 inch rings.
Cut the tentacles in half through the base.
Pat dry.

Spread on a sheet of wax paper
1 Cup flour
Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pour into a deep heavy saucepan
2 inches of oil (either vegetable or olive)
Heat to 375ยบ

Lightly roll the calamari in the flour.
Shake off the excess flour.
Slip the pieces into the hot oil.
Cook until they are golden brown, about 2 - 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon transfer the calamari to paper towels to drain.
Repeat with remaining calamari.

Serve hot with lemon wedges.

Would I make Calamari Fritti again?
Yes, as an appetizer, for company.
But I prefer klamar mimli.

One recipe down.  Thirty-seven more to go.

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