Spain is home to fantastic food markets and in Barcelona each neighbourhood has it’s own. The most famous is the Boqueria on the Ramblas and in the neighbourhood where I am staying it is called Sant Antoni. Smaller than the market on the Ramblas but impressive all the same. Aisles of stalls piled high with fruit and veg, meats and fresh fish. We were shopping for vegetables yesterday when we walked past a fish stall that had the cutest fresh calamari. They were positively winking at us and the next thing we knew were the proud owners of six!
We had them for dinner last night, stuffed with rice, pine nuts and currants, cooked in tomatoes and white wine. An incredibly simple and delicious combination.
If you can get your hands on small calamari(squid) this is great recipe to try. The recipe comes from an ancient fish cookbook that I have by Anton Mosiman and goes something like this
Clean the calamari or better still ask the fishmonger to do this for you. Take off the wings and the tentacles and rinse them well.
Peel and chop an onion and saute gentle in olive oil, don’t let it brown, and when it begins to relax stir in a handful of currants and a handful of pinenuts. Cook these gently together for few minutes and then stir in about 100g basmati rice and a little salt. Carefully fill the calamari tubes with this mix, don’t overstuff as the rice will swell when it cooks. Secure the opening with a tooth pick. Heat a pan, add a little olive oil and carefully fry the squid on all sides, add the wings and tentacles and give them a little fry as well. Next add a glass of white wine and about half a kilo of tomatoes. The recipe calls for blanched and chopped tomatoes and some tomato juice but I used fresh ripe tomatoes which I grated. This is a great Spanish trick. All you have to do is grate the tomato on the coarse side of the grater over a bowl and you end up with tomatoes ready to go and the skin in your hand which you then discard. A can of tomatoes will do if you haven’t any decent fresh tomatoes. If your pan is ovenproof use that but otherwise carefully transfer the squid to an ovenproof dish and pour the tomato sauce over the top.
Cover with a piece of aluminum foil and bake for forty five minutes.
To serve just add some chopped fresh basil.