19th April 2012
Unseasonably Lacy Squid
Lacy Squid

Finally with the lacy squid!

I first encountered the squid de dentelle at Oloroso about a year ago. It was just a side-note in Mum's main course fish dish, but I was impressed by the way the thin squiddy strings had twisted themselves up like fishy curly fries, and how tender they were. I've been completely unable to find anything more about the idea since, despite some effort pacé Google. So I decided to use up some handy complementary leftovers and have a bash at making a squiddy pasta dish every bit as lacy as theirs.

Trust me to want to do it outside squid season though. Which, since you ask, is September - November (or June - January at the outside). I bought some razor clams from my excellent fishmonger to use as a substitute, but caved in completely at the sight of the freshly unfrozen squid at the fish counter of my local Fucking Supermarket™

Since I wasn't sure how to get that Oloroso lacy effect in my squid I prepared a number of different samples, intending to flash-fry them all and see how they turned out.
Firstly I sliced open two squid bodies along the seam and laid them out flat. One sheet I lightly scored on the soft (non-skin) side about 1cm apart, then sliced them both up lengthways in various thicknesses between the thinnest I could manage and about 3mm ribbons.
I also separated out the tentacles.

I had my frying pan all prepped and ready to go, when it occurred to me to try blanching one of the sliced samples first and see if that helped, and was astonished to see them wind themselves up into lacy albino ribbons just like at Oloroso. Still beautifully tender too. So I just blanched the lot (slightly wary of overcooking them), all the samples seem to curl up pretty much the same way except for the tentacles.
So much for all my scientific endeavour.

The rest of my Lacy Squid Linguine and Panna Cotta with Raspberry Syrup came about from the collection of oiled artichoke hearts, tapenade and vanilla flavouring I had left over from previous meals.
I wonder if this might also be an occasion to bring out the squid ink pasta, but how to avoid the black-on-black crime of that tapenade?

Lacy Squid Linguine with Artichoke Hearts and Tapenade
main fish pasta
Thin pasta, thinly sliced artichoke hearts and thin ribbons of squid. Well, the shapes all match, and the tapenade brings them all together nicely.

Serves 2

Prepare your artichoke hearts: trim away most of the leaves, cut into eighths, remove any hairs, then blanch for 4 minutes until tender.
Or just open the jar.
Slice the hearts (and through any leaves still attached) into quite thin segments, toss in olive oil and set aside.

Clean the squid: pull out the innards and quill, remove any outer membrane from the tubes and rinse them out well. Cut away the individual tentacles if you like - I thought they added a nice contrast. Cut open the tube along its seam and lay it flat with the soft inner side up. Pull away any membrane, then slice lengthways reasonably thinly (1-2mm). Set the slices and tentacles aside.

Grate the parmesan.
Grind up the red peppercorns.

Put the squid strings into a sieve. Cook your linguine and when it is just about ready turn up the heat, plunge the squid into the water and shake them around until the water returns to the boil they should curl up nicely at this point, then remove the squid. Drain the pasta, toss with a little olive oil, some parmesan some of the ground red peppercorns? and the artichoke hearts.

To serve, heap pasta into serving bowls, heap on a spoonful or two of the tapenade, and top with the lacy squid.
Sprinkle on the ground red peppercorns.
Excellent. Very pleased with that!
You need to get the balance right here though - it's easy to overload the tapenade or the parmesan.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Raspberry Syrup
I made this using some vanilla-infused vodka that I had left left over from some fishy parcels. Although the flavour was fine I did find the vast number of vanilla seeds made the panna cottas look a bit pox-ridden.
They were still popular though.
I think next time I make this I'll try liquorice flavour instead of vanilla, which should go nicely with the raspberry syrup.

Serves 4

For the panna cotta: soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water until soft. Place the milk, cream, vanilla pod and seeds and sugar into a pan and bring to a simmer. Remove the vanilla pod and discard.
Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves, then add to the pan and take off the heat. Stir until the gelatine has dissolved.
Divide the mixture among four 100ml ramekins, cover with cling-film and leave to cool. The surface gets a bit leathery if you don't cover it. You can also pour a little of the syrup on top instead. It helps if you fill the ramekins right to the top - also with turning out. Place into the fridge for at least an hour, until set.

For the syrup: place the sugar, water and liqueur into a pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved.
Take the pan off the heat and add two-thirds of the raspberries. Cook until the fruit disintegrates then pass through a sieve to strain out the seeds. Stir in the remaining fruit.

To serve: warm each ramekin in hot water for about 5 seconds (only!) to free it then turn the panna cotta out onto a serving plate. Spoon around the warm sauce feel free to refresh it with a little more liqueur and garnish with a sprig of mint.
Dust with icing sugar.
Hmmm, creamy.
I like my panna cotta a bit on the wobbly side, so add the extra half gelatine sheet if you like a firmer set. My gelatine sheets weighed 18g for 10, so a bit lighter than 2g each. Swiz!

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