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Seasonal Spanish Food
by Jose Pizarro

In Spain, the most popular way to cook squid is to cut up the body into rings, which are then battered and deep-fried. I have fond memories of my time in Madrid when I would party until the early hours and finish my festivities with a snack of churros (doughnuts), or with a mug of ultra-sweet and sticky hot chocolate. Then, later that morning I'd breakfast on a huge sandwich stuffed with crusty hoops of squid, washed down with a beer. Carbohydrate heaven. This recipe is altogether more elegant. Choose medium-size, white squid. Ask the fishmonger to prepare the squid for you (i.e., remove the beak and clean them).
Serves 4


    · 2 lb squid, ready prepared
    · 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
    · 1 small red chile, seeds removed and finely chopped
    · juice of 1/2 lemon
    · 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
    · 5 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, chopped
    · salt and freshly ground black pepper
    · 4 slices of white sourdough bread
    · 4 mint sprigs

    · 2 large free-range egg yolks (at room temperature)
    · 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
    · 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    · 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
    · 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil


Cut each squid body lengthwise and open it out flat. Score the inside of the squid diagonally from left to right and right to left to create a diamond-shape grid. This helps to keep the squid tender when you cook it. Leave the tentacles whole—I think it looks better.

Marinate the squid with the garlic, chile, lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley for 12 hours in the fridge.

Meanwhile, make the aioli. Make sure that your egg yolks are at room temperature. Place them in a stainless steel mixing bowl along with the garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Whisk them together and then, very gradually, drizzle the olive oil into the mixture, continuing to whisk as you do so. You'll end up with a glistening sauce with a similar consistency to soft butter. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

In Spain we use a smooth cast-iron plate (or plancha) to grill things like squid. But there's no need to buy one, just heat your largest and heaviest frying pan until it's really hot. Season the squid with salt and pepper and grill the pieces for 2 minutes on each side—you want them to be a beautiful toasted color.

Toast the bread. Cut each slice of toast diagonally in half and then place one half on top of the other half off-center, so you have space to arrange the squid in a decorative pile over both slices. Finish with a spoonful of aioli and a sprig of mint and serve.


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