While these are baby squid, perhaps they are not baby squid (which might be only 3 to 6 centimeters long, including their heads). They are however small, tender, and very tasty. I serve this dish often; the size of the cephalopods varies according to local market availability, but they are always delicious, and always very easy to prepare.
The recipe is included in Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers’ ‘Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Cafe‘. The book is a treasure.
- three quarters of a pound of baby squid, bodies and tentacles, from P.E. & D.D. Seafood, rinsed, dried, quickly arranged in an enameled cast iron pan after its cooking surface had been brushed with olive oil and heated on top of the range until very hot, then sprinkled with some super-pungent dried Italian oregano from Buon Italia and one crushed dried pepperoncino, also from Buon Italia, then a good squeeze of lemon juice and some olive oil drizzled over the top, and placed in a pre-heated 400º oven, roasted for four or five minutes
- one baby fennel bulb from Norwich Meadows Farm, rolled in a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, pan-grilled until tender and slightly carbonized, then tossed with chopped fennel fronds [note: since I forgot to add some finely-minced garlic this time, we missed out on the zing otherwise expected]
- redbor kale (or winterbor kale), finely-curled and a striking dark purple-red in color, from Tamarack Hollow Farm, wilted with olive oil in which thinly-sliced garlic from Norwich Meadows Farm had been allowed to heat until pungent, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of fresh olive oil [in the picture the kale is inside a low black non-vintage, and non-radioactive Fiestaware bowl]
- the wine was an Italian (Sicily) white, Fuori Strada Grillo 2014 (whose gorgeous soft packaging, incidentally, is safe for the water bottle holder on you bike)
- the music was the Calder Quartet playing the Thomas Adès string quartet, ‘Arcadiana’