Hot Summer Nights. Calamari Fritti in Fretta.

The season is hotting up, in both senses of the word. Mr Tranquillo, my current Cabana Boy, refuses to don the appropriate costume or demeanor as he attempts to get the pool functioning in time for a sizzling hot weekend. My adult daughter sips her white wine as she ponders the thought of her father as Cabana Boy. She announces that she doesn’t want to go there, the thought is just too ‘gross’.

Whenever these hot evenings string out for too long, dinner preparation must be super fast. I had calamari fritti on my mind. As my daughter left before the meal, her black eyes glared from the car ” Don’t send me a photo, it’s not fair!”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese lovely molluscs were acquired from the Queen Victoria Market on the best day of the week, Tuesday. In terms of Melbourne’s catch, this is the first day of the week, when the fish are still jumping fresh.  The fishmongers at the Vic Market are happy to clean your purchase.

Calamari Fritti con Rugola in Fretta ( for two)

  • 2 big handfuls of wild rocket/rugola
  • 3 spring onions, sliced, including green end
  • 1 chilli, chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
  • a little olive oil
  • 400g freshly prepared calamari, sliced, including tentacles.
  • cornflour
  • salt and pepper
  • five spice powder
  • neutral tasting cooking oil, such as canola, for frying.
  1. Prepare the salad base. Arrange the rocket leaves and toss with the spring onions on a serving platter.
  2. Make a quick dressing. Crush the chilli and garlic with some salt in a mortar and pestle. Add some olive oil. Lightly dress the leaves.
  3. Heat a fryingpan or wok and add some oil. Toss the calamari slices in cornflour mixed with salt and five spice powder. Cook the calamari in batches, tossing well, for around one minute. Using tongs, drain well on paper towels.
  4. When all the calamari is fried, toss through the salad leaves.

Serve with lemon wedges.

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It is heartening to know that calamari is a sustainable seafood here in Victoria. The rubbery frozen tubes sold in supermarkets are not worth buying unless you fancy eating fried condoms. These usually come from Asia or the USA.  If you do choose to buy these from the supermarket, ask about the source.

The following is a great site to check out the sustainability of Australian seafood.   http://goodfishbadfish.com.au/

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Song plant.  Ooo Ooo, Ooo Ooo Ooo, Ooo Ooo, Ooo Ooo, Ooo,  Hot Summer Nights.

 

 

Watermelon Salad with Sardines – 10 minute fast food

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It’s that time of year again. Things are speeding up, the dance card looks full. Shops pump out annoying Christmas Carols making shopping unpleasant, police breathalizers are on the road even in the morning. Fast food is the now the go. No, not the stuff one grabs from the place with the golden arches (or one of its ugly cousins). However we do reserve the right to visit a Maccas in Paris when in need of a toilet!

The following little feast makes dinner for two.  Measurements are flexible, things are thrown together. Ordered Chaos.

The Sardines

8 fresh sardine fillets ( already butterflied)

grated parmigiana cheese- 1/2 cup

dry breadcrumbs – around 1 cup.

1 -2 eggs

  • Mix the parmigiana with the crumbs in one bowl, beat the egg/s in another.
  • Dunk the fillets in the egg first, the coat generously with the crumbs.
  • Rest them while making the salad.Image

The Salad

A big chunk of watermelon

a handful of mint leaves, torn

fetta cheese, such as Dodoni

a handful of pine nuts, toasted

lemon or lime juice

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  • Cut the watermelon into big chunks. Cut the fetta into small cubes.  Add these to the serving bowl.
  • tear in a generous amount of mint leaves ( destalked) some toasted pinenuts ( or other nuts on hand- toasted).
  • Add juice of one lemon or lime and a drizzle of oil.Image

Fry the fillets in olive oil for one minute on each side.  Lay on paper towels to remove excess oil. Toss the salad and serve, preferably all’aperto, outside or by the pool. ImageImageImage