bodies or tentacles?

Last night I was all set with a Bill Granger recipe in hand, ready to pick up the ingredients, but when I got off my train, I noticed the local Monday-night farmer’s market was open for business for the first time this year. Yay! There wasn’t much produce yet, but there was a vendor selling local seafood. I asked for a pound of the cleaned squid, and he said, “Bodies or tentacles?” I’m more of a body guy, but I knew the tentacles would photograph well. “I’ll take some of both.”

It was time to improvise. I knew I had some cream at home, and plenty of pasta too. So I started off by sauteeing some garlic in olive oil, and this time I added a big pinch of crushed red pepper (since people who read my blog seem to universally love crushed red pepper). Then I added a can of crushed tomatoes and cooked them down a bit.

The cream and squid came next — I forget in which order. That’s how you get the pretty color of the sauce. And the trick is not to cook the squid for too long, or else it gets chewy.

My basil plant grew a lot in the past week or two. Those tiny sprigs had to be cut back quite a bit or else they’d get too thin and start flowering (a bad thing). So I chopped up some of the basil and served it over the final dish. It sure turned out pretty. Oh yeah, it tasted great too, creamy and spicy. I ate every last bite out of the pan… no leftovers whatsoever. Yum.

48 thoughts on “bodies or tentacles?

  1. Mmmmm. This is almost identical to a Giuliano Hazan recipe from Every Night Italian that I often make, except that he uses shrimp. It’s one of my favourite pasta dishes in the world so I imagine your squid version would be just as delicious.

  2. This looks sooo good. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to cook squid at home. I used to love the bodies, but I’ve found that lately I’ve preferred tentacales — they don’t creep me out as much as they used and they tend to be less likely to have that overcooked chewiness to them. Great recipe idea!

  3. justin the title of this post scared me!I do love that first shot, but then you lost me with the whole body shot. LOLI am so loving that sauce though. Is it hot in nyc? or humid?

  4. hilary: i have to check out that Hazan book!tramie: good point about the different texturesmegan: honestly, if you buy the squid already cleaned and give it a good rinse, it’s really easy.dawn: did I say something about body shots? just kidding. the weather in NYC is all over the place these days. the past few days were great, but I think rain is on the way now.

  5. This looks delicious! Living on the prairies means I can only ever find frozen squid – I’d love to be able to get some fresh stuff to cook with! And I’m ambivalent about bodies or tentacles – it all tastes the same to me!

  6. Lovely quick sqid pasta: a summer staple!I’m more of a tentacle gal… I like their texture, I think because they have greater surface area, there’s more room for crispiness when deep-fried!

  7. chef fresco: thanks for visiting. i’m happy to say my house does not smell like fish now.cathy: so much seafood in supermarkets was actually frozen first, even if they’re selling it thawed, so it’s nice to get fresh stuff at the farmer’s marketchinesekite: thanks for visitingmarta: yeah, the tentacles are great when friedpear: lol, i know…

  8. Nice! I like both. It’s always great to find some of the freshest items at Farmer’s Markets. Now I’m craving for calamari.

  9. Looks delish. Sometimes the best dishes come from improvisation. I tend to overcook things that should not be overcooked- squid, asparagus, caramel. I think I inherited it from my mom. The cycle stops here!

  10. The tentacle thing is a little freaky LOL!! I didn't even know you could eat them, so I learned something…but it's still a little freaky!!

  11. I eat both. Bodies and tentacles. I'm not squeamish. My husband on the other hand, he doesn't like anything that looks too much like the creature it came from. I'd love to try this. It looks and sounds absolutely perfect!

  12. viki: thanks so much for visitingsaee: thanks. I was hoping someone would say something about the home-grown basil!mommy gourmet: squid is way easy to cook… that's the great thing about it.morta di fame: ha, okaysylvie: thanksmurasaki: thanks, and I agree — deep-fried tentacles are awesome

  13. squid! not a regular ingredient…I admire your adventurous spirit!my dad loves them both. he eats squid as much as he can. He just slightly boils it, and then dip it in korean red pepper paste. have you ever tried dried and roasted squid?

  14. chef fresco: i think you need to try it and report backleela: really? thanks for visitingburpandslurp: i too like the korean squid in red pepper paste, but not too much at a time. i went out once for korean food and ordered it, and it was a mountain of food. i've never tried the dried and roasted, but i've been wanting to try it ever since I saw "The Host".gaby: thank goodness for those of us not in culinary school that we can buy it pre-cleaned!

  15. I am always looking for squid recipes, especially ones that do not require frying. Have you heard that there has been a major increase in squid. They predict the numbers to increase. So it looks like squid is a bigger part of our future food supply.

  16. Almost missed this post which would have been terrible because I love squid! Bodies or tentacles? It's definitely both for me – especially the small ones that are left whole. It looks delicious in the cream sauce!

  17. this recipe is really yummy!! love the idea of using them up with pastas!! i've never tried though, thanks for sharing the recipe :-)ps thanks for stopping! you've got a great blog and I would love to invite you at recipe

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