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Deep Fried Squid [Kalamarakia Tiganita]
This is one of my favritist lunchtime feasts when I am in Greece. I like to use fresh squid if possible but it’s not always easy to find in the UK so you may have to settle for frozen rings which is not as yummy.
Ingredients: To feed 2 peepses-500 g of fresh squid, some plain flour seasoned with plenty of salt and pepper, vegetable oil for frying, lemon wedges.
Method: You can get the fishmonger to prepare the squid for you, they will remove the ink sac and other gruesome bits. Wash the squid well and then remove any nobbly bits and cut the body into rings and the tentacles into bite sized portions. Now this is the important bit – dry the cut squid very well or it will spit at you when you deep fry it. [I don’t own a deep fat fryer – I use an open saucepan]. If you are using frozen squid, defrost throroughly and dry well. Dip the squidlets into the heavily seasoned flour and then deep fry in the hot oil for a few minutes until they start to turn a pale golden brown. It’s important that you do not overcook the squid or it will go rubbery. Remove the squid and shake off the excess oil. Serve immediately garnished with lemon wedges, a side salad and garlicky tzaziki. A cold glass of white washes it down nicely.
Pan Fried Swordfish or Halibut with garlic, olives and cherry tomatoes.
I like to keep my fish dishes simple. I think this sauce compliments the fish nicely. It would work well with fresh tuna too.
Ingredients: To feed 2 peepses – 2 swordfish steaks [or halibut or tuna], 4 cherry tomatoes, a clove of garlic, a few Kalamata olives, some fresh parsley, dash of olive oil, a small knob of butter, a splash of white wine, salt and pepper and a wedge of lemon.
Method: Start by washing the fish, then pat them dry and place to one side. Prick the cherry tomatoes a few times with the end of a sharp knife, smush the garlic and chop the olives into slices. Heat some olive oil in a small pan and add the tomatoes, garlic and olives and simmer gently for a few minutes. Meanwhile melt the butter with the oil in a frying pan on a high heat, the butter may start to burn a bit, that’s ok. Season the fish well with salt and pepper and add them to the pan. Fry for around 4 minutes on each side spooning some of the juices over the fish once or twice. Do not overcook the fish or it may dry out. Place them onto warm plates while you finish off the sauce. Deglaze the frying pan with the wine, add some freshly chopped parsley, some salt and pepper and then add this to the saucepan with the garlicky tomatoes and olives. Pour this over the fish and then serve with a wedge of lemon and fresh veggies of your choice.
I love the grilled octopus that I have eaten in Greece- tender, succulent, slightly charred and very tasty. I have to confess I was a bit worried the first time I cooked octopus at home. They are rarely sold in supermarkets in England but Morrisons are the exception. Sadly, where I live there are no more old fashioned fishmongers left.
I hear so many negative comments about octopus being rubbery or chewy. The most likely reason for this is that the octopus as it is [raw, dead] is very watery and you need to get rid of this water first or the end result will be rubbery. The traditional method is to hang the beast up to dry and allow the water to evaporate under the sun, or to tenderise it by beating it. I have also heard freezing it helps too but a speedy and effective way is to braise it quickly to get rid of the excess liquid.
Ingredients: One whole fresh octopus, Olive oil, rigani, sliced lemon, water, thats all!
I bought a whole octopus, it was not expensive but it did mean that I had to prepare it first which meant cutting off its head and beak! Oh YUK!
I used the video below as my guide to prepare the octopus and did not find the process too complicated. However, I did deviate a little from the rest of the instructions regarding the cooking. So read on and follow my instructions below or choose to follow the instructions in the video- it’s up to you!
Cooking – braising and boiling:
After you have prepared your octopus you need to get rid of the excess water from the animal to ensure a nice tender end result. Pop the prepared octopus into a pot and braise it for about 8 minutes over a high heat, turning the octopus once. The octopus will have turned a nice pink colour and already looks a little less blubbery and more appealing. Then take it out [using the handle of a wooden spoon works well] and let it rest.
Add water to the same pot, bring it to a rolling boil, return the octopus and boil it until it is tender. This takes about an hour but timings can vary depending on the size of the beasty. You can season it at this stage and serve now but I like my octopus grilled on the barbie meaning there is one final cooking stage to go.
Fish [haha] out the octopus out of the pot and cut it into nice tentacly sections ready for the barbecue. Toss the tentacles in olive oil and rigani and then grill them on a very hot barbie, turning them when required and basting occasionally with olive oil. I like my octopus to be a bit charred as that is how I have had it in Greece. When it’s cooked, remove from the barbie and season if you want. I sometimes cut it into bite sized chunks but you can serve it as is. Garnish with sliced lemon. YUM.