I spent Monday morning lounging at the beach with a friend. But the challenge of that night’s dinner was imminent. A pound of raw squid waited for me in the fridge. Beans soaked in a pot on the stovetop.
A dorm smoke alarm went off the last time I tried to cook dried beans. And squid? Although I love seafood, I’d never touched the slippery stuff unless it was already grilled or breaded and fried.
Deep breath. Let’s be brave.
Meet the largest little alien in the tentacle bunch. Most of the tentacles were about the same size, except for a couple of extra-long ones. The tentacles are certainly the freakiest-looking part of this animal, but all that texture makes them my favorite in a basket of fried calamari. This was a means to an end.
And you know what? Turns out squid is actually fairly easy to work with. The bodies are no trouble at all to slice into rings, and some have a pretty purple marbling on them.
The beans turned out just fine after simmering for an hour and a half with a couple of bay leaves, a couple of garlic cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon of oregano.
After that, this meal comes together quickly.
The squid was slightly spiced, garlicky, and completely delectable without hiding in a familiar coat of breadcrumbs. Tender beans add a welcome creaminess against the chewy squid tangled in linguine. A squeeze of lemon before serving makes this incredibly fresh.
The herbs could probably be changed around, though I really liked the marjoram, a kind of brighter oregano. Maybe go for double the amount of red pepper if you’re craving something spicier. We doubled the amount of garlic because I can never have too much, garlic breath be damned.
I’ll be making this again.
What about you – feeling brave?
p.s. the site got a makeover this past weekend and looks totally different now – what do you think?
linguine with squid and white beans
serves about 4, adapted from “Heart of the Artichoke” by David Tanis
- 1/2 pound linguine
- 1 pound squid, cleaned, bodies sliced into 1-inch rings, tentacles chopped if large
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 3 large garlic cloves, smashed to a paste with a little salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 tablespoon marjoram
- 1 cup cooked white beans
- 1 lemon
Rinse the squid to remove any grit. Slice the bodies into 1-inch rings, and chop in half any tentacles that are much larger than the rest.
Use a paper towel to pat the squid dry and set aside on a plate lined with another paper towel.
Mince the garlic cloves, and use a mortar and pestle to smash the garlic into a paste. Add to a small bowl with marjoram and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes.
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high to high heat.
Add half of the squid to the oil when it is hot. (Get out your splatter guard!) Add a generous amount of salt and pepper. Stir in about half of the garlic, pepper, and marjoram. Cook for a minute, stirring occasionally. Move the squid to a plate lined with a paper towel.
Add the second half of the squid to the skillet. Add salt, pepper, and the other half of the garlic, pepper and marjoram. Cook for a minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in the beans, and the rest of the squid.
Drain the pasta. Add to the skillet. Add salt, a drizzle of olive oil, and toss.
Move everything to a serving bowl. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.