Recipe Source: Botascos, Jim. The New Greek Cuisine. Broadway Books, New York, 2006 p. 178
This is the first dish that I made when I returned to the kitchen after being exiled due to the Day Care Cholera of 2013. It is a very simple dish, not that the original is written that way. My version bears very little resemblance to the original actually, and I guess that's okay. Anyway, I really wasn't feeling the whole cooking thing that day. I had about a thousand other things that I wanted to be doing. Most of them involved string in one way or another. You see, while I was exiled from the kitchen but well enough to sit up and work I became very productive in terms of knitting. I got very used to it. This is good in that I cleared a few projects off my plate and got some things done. It's not so good in that I'd rather knit than cook right now... Oh well. I'll strike a happy balance at some point, right? (And then there's quilting, something I've always wanted to do.... Pinterest is a dangerous place, folks. You find yourself saying things like, "Well, why not me?" The next thing you know you're looking at a bundle of fabric calling itself a "fat quarter" and your husband is backing away slowly. Just remember that the phrase "watch this" invalidates your insurance.)
At any rate, I definitely wanted to be dining out less and so it was back into the kitchen I went. I made some changes to the recipe of course. The original is a grilled prawn dish with a spinach-rice pilaf. I'd always intended to make some changes to the pilaf. The rice was going to become black rice (because I got a great deal on it at Costco and well, it's pretty.) The spinach was going to become some mustard greens that I'd purchased before my illness. The problem is that mustard greens don't last that long in the refrigerator, especially not in a refrigerator as wretched as mine. The freeze-thaw cycles are not beneficial. They went away, and I re-thought the whole dish. I decided that I would only deal with the seafood, and that too was always going to change. When I went to the store I looked at the shrimp. I looked at their price tag and I pondered it. Then I noticed that they had squid on hand. I love squid. My husband loves squid. Thanks to the pediatrician-imposed ban followed by a dearth of squid, my daughter had never yet tried squid. Squid is much less expensive than shrimp. I decided that I was going to go for the squid. I reduced the amount of olive oil, because no one in our family needs to be eating that much oil. I increased the garlic because everyone in our family needs to eat more garlic. Yours too, unless they're allergic to alliums. Our fresh lemons were looking a little sickly so I used some dried lemon zest that I keep around for pies. I detest parsley - if you want food to taste like grass just use grass, it's cheaper - so I used fresh oregano instead of dried and made up the volume that way. I added a pinch of Aleppo pepper too, just because it's pretty and I like the flavor.
The result was pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself, and it made me feel like putting down the needles and getting back into the kitchen was worthwhile. We took the dinner downstairs and watched an early Spring Training game, which was a great way to spend an evening with family. If you have the time to set the food to marinate before you leave the house in the morning - and you can certainly mix up the marinade the night before - there's no reason that this couldn't be a decent weeknight dish.
Squid with Garlic and Lemon (serves 4; approx. $4.23/serving)
1 1/2 pounds squid (tentacles and tubes), tubes cut into rings
1/2 cup olive oil
12 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons lemon zest
about 1/4 bunch fresh oregano, leaves only, roughly chopped
Pinch Aleppo pepper
- Mini-prep miniature food processor
- Re-sealable bowl
- Large, deep saute pan
- Combine the oil, garlic, lemon zest, oregano and Aleppo pepper in the mini-prep.
- Process until all of the garlic is very finely minced.
- Put the squid in the resealable bowl. Pour the oil mixture over the squid. Cover, seal and shake well.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours and a maximum of 12 hours.
- When you're ready to cook, heat the pan gently over low to medium-low heat.
- Add the contents of the bowl, marinade and all.
- Cook over low heat until the squid is thoroughly cooked. Be careful not to overcook, because overcooked squid has a rubbery texture that will put you off squid for life.
- Serve hot.