This is a dish that could very likely get me kicked out of the Lazy Gourmet club. The truth is, it was a pain in the you-know-what to make, but as I’ll explain (don’t worry, Jules!), I could have made things much much easier on myself.
It was my wedding anniversary and, like every year, I had spent the weeks leading up to the day musing about recreating our fabulous wedding menu—which included, among other delights, escargot tartlets, fava bean crostini, coriander-crusted scallops with spring onion puree, and duck confit over sautéed chard with rhubarb sauce. But as the day grew ever nearer with no plan of action in place, I gradually began lowering the bar.
“Maybe,” I said, “I’ll just do the fava bean crostini and duck confit,” and I bought a load of fava beans at the farmers market. And then, suddenly, it was the day. I was greeted at the breakfast table by a stunning potted azalea, nearly identical to the ones that adorned the dinner tables at our wedding reception, and I still had not figured out what to cook for my wonderful husband. Clearly, duck confit was off the table as I was out of time.
I dashed to the market and set about devising a dish that would be seasonal, delicious, super quick to prepare, but still special enough for the occasion. Scanning the fish case, I was drawn to a pile of squid and envisioned a quick spring sauté. My first instinct was to get the pre-cleaned squid, because that’s what Lazy Gourmets do, but I noticed that there were no tentacles in the bucket and I wanted those graceful legs for visual effect. And so, against my better judgment, I ordered up three pounds of uncleaned squid.
If you’re an experienced cook, you’ve probably already noticed two flaws in my plan. First, fava beans are notoriously labor-intensive because you first have to pop the beans out of their pods, then blanch them, and finally remove the thick skins from the individual beans before they’re ready to eat. Second, cleaning squid is no quick maneuver, as each small beast requires multiples steps to ready it for consumption. Not to mention, I had my two-year-old underfoot while I cooked.
After a good hour-plus of prep, once I was finally ready to put fire to pan, the dish was a snap to finish. My husband loved it and I learned yet more important lessons about being a good Lazy Gourmet. I’ll certainly make this dish again, but next time I’ll sub pre-cooked (even canned) white beans or fresh green peas for the favas and I’ll get my squid at the Japanese fish market where the pre-cleaned variety comes with tentacles. With those changes, the dish will come together in less than twenty minutes, including prep, and I’ll be able to recapture my Lazy Gourmet street cred.
Spicy Calamari with Beans, Chard, and Spanish Chorizo
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 4 ounces Spanish-style chorizo diced
- 1 pound chard center ribs discarded, leaves julienned
- 2 1/2 pounds cleaned squid bodies sliced into 1-inch rings, tentacles halved if large
- 1/2 –1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 cup prepared fava beans or cooked white beans warmed
- In a large, heavy skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat until it begins to shimmer.
- Add the garlic and give it a stir.
- Add the chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned.
- Add the chard and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 4 minutes.
- Add the squid, red pepper flakes, and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute, until the squid is just cooked through.
- Stir in the beans and cook, stirring, just until heated through, about 1 minute more.
- Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
- Serve immediately.