Ode to Calamari
This popular dish can be found in restaurants from pizzerias to fine Italian or Asian dining. Usually you find Calamari as the breaded & Fried appetizer version served with Marinara sauce or a sweet Thai chili sauce
, endless options on the condiments.
Calamari is the Italian word meaning squid. This white firm, mild & slightly sweet flavor is a delicate mollusk that people often do not make at home. Which is why it is often a top selling item in a restaurant.
Often people read a menu and say “let’s try the calamari”. It makes a great sharing appetizer. Then it comes out as rubbery rings that disappoint. Or the batter is too thick and dark. Calamari is the benchmark dish that shows the quality of a good chef and restaurant.
It starts with the quality of the squid then how it is prepared by the chef. Both have to be top notch to satisfy customers.
Calamari aka squid comes from the same grouping of mollusks as octopus, Scallops and oysters. And while the most popular dish we think of is the fried appetizer version, it is often used in pastas & seafood salads as a healthy protein filled with omega 3 & healthy fats. Sautéed lightly with other healthy seafood & served over spinach instead of pasta – you have a healthy, light & delicious meal.
While squid can grow to 80 inches in length, most of the restaurant quality is in the 8-12 inch size.
Rings or Tentacles? Many restaurants make the decision to serve the entire squid including the “furry” curly tentacles. Others feel the “rings only” looks more elegant & palatable wider group of customers.
When we bought Primo Amore, we immediately changed the calamari. It was the rubber rings on our first night dining under the old ownership. Our son said “we can’t buy this place the calamari stinks.” Our first week, we brought in 3 seafood vendors with 3 grades of squid. We taste-tested with our staff & customer. We chose the best and then began to test preparations. After much debate, we opted to stick to rings only based on customer feedback.
Today, we lightly flour & quickly fry our fried appetizer. Just a touch of salt & pepper. Served with sweet Marinara sauce made from premium Alta Cucina tomatoes. Never greasy. Our non fried, healthier calamari options include seafood salad tossed with shrimp & clams, celery & red onion in a light lemon & olive oil dressing. Or you can try the Calamari rings in our light mixed seafood pasta special called Pappardella de Mar, ribbons of flat fresh pasta topped with calamari, mussels, shrimp in extra virgin olive oil, white wine & garlic sauce. Like red sauce? Try it in our Zuppa de Pesce with Calamari, shrimp, mussels & fresh market fish over linguine.
If you love calamari, or have never liked it before, we encourage you to come over & try it at Primo Amore Bistro. Our customers have said it is the best they have ever had. With the love & care we have put into our calamari dishes, we take that compliment to heart.