Mediterranean calamari or squid stew, deliciously tender calamari rings smothered in an aromatic tomato sauce with olives and capers.
This was my first time with calamari. Cooking it, not eating it. I bought a bag of frozen calamari on a whim, not exactly knowing what to do with it, thinking about some squid in tomato sauce I once had in a Spanish restaurant and knowing that the children will spend the next 3 days in grandma’s house, meaning that for a few days I will be able to cook what I call “adult” food, food that I know that my children would not touch.
So during these three days we had calamari stew, lamb chops with couscous and sweet potato and vegetable curry. I liked all three meals very much, but this calamari stew was really a revelation. Something that I know for sure I will cook again, with or without children complaining (they could mop the tomato sauce with the bread and leave the calamari rings for us). It was sooooooooooo much better than the restaurant version. That one was for sure good enough to leave an impression on me but really not that good compared with this version.
The calamari rings were really tender and the tomato sauce unbelievably aromatic and delicious. Everything was perfect with only some pieces of crusty white bread on the side. And you do need the bread, you will want to clean every drop of sauce off your plate with it.
If you like or are willing to try calamari, do give this dish a try, you will love it.
- 500 g/ about 1 pound calamari tubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 or 2 chili peppers, to taste
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can chopped tomatoes, 400 g/ 14 oz
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 2 bay leaves
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons capers
- 10 large black olives
- baguette, ciabatta or other white bread to serve
- Clean the calamari tubes and slice them into rings, about 2 cm/ 0.8 inch thick. Finely chop the onions, garlic cloves and chili.
- Heat the olive oil in a thick bottomed pan, add the onions, garlic and chili and saute them for a few minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir for about 2 minutes. Add the calamari tubes, the tomatoes, the thyme sprigs, left whole, the bay leaves and some salt and pepper.
- Cover the pot, turn the heat down and simmer for about 25 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- In the meantime finely chop the capers, pit the olives and cut them into rings. Add them to the stew and continue cooking on a low flame, this time uncovered, for further 10 to 15 minutes. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaves and serve immediately.