Temperatures came close to topping 80 degrees today.
Which meant dinner had to be al fresco. And the entree had to be grilled.
So we dined on this:
This is a cinch to make (no use slaving in the kitchen when it’s such a nice day). You slice calamari, toss it in a cast-iron pan and soak it in a fennel-spiced lemon and olive oil mixture. After a quick blast on a super-hot grill, the calamari emerges tender and rosy. The lemon and olive oil create a savory dipping sauce. A sprinkling of baby arugula gives crunch and welcome bitterness.
We ate the dish with a side of pasta.
Outside, of course.
I’m usually a stickler for keeping lemon juice away from my cast-iron pan. But this dish cooks so quickly (and is eaten so fast), there’s no time for the usual off-taste that can occur when iron and citrus interact.
- 1 10.6-ounce package frozen whole calamari
- 1 lemon
- Olive oil
- Fennel seeds
- Baby arugula
Thaw the calamari, then drain it and dry it well. Cut the bodies into 1/3- to 1/2-inch rings.
Place the seafood in a 9-inch cast-iron pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper:
Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon over the calamari, then add about as much olive oil. Sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of fennel seeds and gently toss. Your squid should give the appearance of — forgive me — “swimming” in liquid.
Heat your grill until very hot. I have a gas grill, and I waited until it was 600 degrees.
Place the cast-iron pan on the grill. Close the lid and grill for 6 minutes.
Carefully remove the pan and add two handfuls of baby arugula. Toss with tongs until the greens wilt.
Serve with a spoon to make sure everyone gets plenty sauce along with their seafood.