A few months ago, I sort of reviewed here a Quebec cookbook: Deux folles et un fouet by Jessica Barker and Rafaële Germain, that I quite liked. Why? Because the recipes are simple yet company-worthy, and quite tasty despite the fact they often require few ingredients.
I had given myself one guideline when I review any cookbook: I would cook 3 recipes from it, to both make up my mind and give you a hands-on opinion. But I was crazy busy in the spring, and so instead of actually reviewing the book, I simply made and praised its Cream and olive roast chicken, quite deservedly so
So here is my second incursion in the universe of two ditsy blondes who obviously know their way around a kitchen, whatever our preconceived ideas about cooking celebrities (hello Gwyneth Paltrow). On the menu of this last post before the summer holidays, I offer you Grilled Calamari. Or as our two hot pink foodies call it: Squid happy to be stuffed.
By the way, the fennel and black pepper sausage used in the recipe come from my favourite Laurentians address: organic farm Runaway Creek in Arundel, where I also bought a whole lamb last fall. Owner Michael Rossy and his beautiful wife grow many heirloom vegetables there, so if you’d like to do your own taste test of 20 different tomato varieties, you know where to go.
From an amazing selection of fine herbs to grow, organic produce including many heirloom varieties, egg-laying hens and even whole lamb or goat (you need to reserve those), Runaway Creek Farm is a cool foodie destination. Plus you can even bring a picnic and laze around the small lake with the owner’s approval. One word: Run.
So what about the calamari, you ask, with two picky-eaters-slash-guinea-pigs in attendance? Well, father and son loved, loved, loved. With a quicky salsa I improvised and plain white rice, this supper was rightfully devoured around the patio table. Mind you, in the spirit of full disclosure, my 5 year-old picky eater is slowly growing out of it and was actually dancing for joy at the thought of eating the squid he helped his dad clean — always a winning tactic with He Who Cannot Be Tamed.
So without further ado, here are Ze calamari with yours truly’s Picante salsa. Fire up the grill.
Grilled squid with fennel sausage
Note: The squid we bought at Montreal’s go-to Adonis Market were seriously huge and easily twice the size of the ones shown in the cookbook’s beauty shot. So I already knew cooking time would be an issue. A little paranoia here will help. Honestly, when it comes to squid, there’s no fast rule about cooking length. The authors recommend 12 minutes of indirect cooking, I grilled mine over 20 minutes, plus I transferred them over the open burner a few minutes more, to secure appetitizing grill marks.
• 4 fennel sausages (you can use Italian sausage and add fennel seeds)
• 2 egg yolks
• 12 squid bodies, cleaned, without tentacles
• olive oil
• salt and pepper
1. Soak toothpicks in water 20 minutes or so to prevent them from burning during cooking.
2. Preheat the grill to medium heat.
3. Slide the tip of your knife over the sausage, remove the skins and transfer the meat to a bowl. Add the egg yolks and mix.
4. Stuff each squid with sausage, making sure the flesh goes all the way to the end, but leave a space at the opening to prevent the squid from bursting during cooking. Close with toothpicks.
5. Baste with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Close the burners on one side of the barbecue and place squid over the closed burner (a technique commonly called indirect cooking). Cover grill and cook squid 12 minutes or more, turning midway. If like me, you get off on grill marks, a little direct turn over the open burner might be needed at the end.
6. Serve with your choice of salsa, mine follows. Bon appétit!
My quickie salsa
Note: We had just returned from Sauriol Farm in Laval where I often buy our fresh vegetables. They had the first corn on the cob of the season, sweet tiny corn with barely any meat on the cob but a nice start to any salsa. I wanted to use the corn raw but my picky eaters almost fainted at the thought.
• kernels from 2 to 4 cooked corns, depending on size
• 1 cup (250 ml) cherry tomatoes, rough chopped
• 1-2 chopped green onions, white and green parts
• 1 chopped serrano pepper (if you don’t like it hot, remove seeds)
• olive oil
• fleur de sel and fresh ground black pepper
1. Combine the whole and leave to rest a little at room temperature to blend flavours.