Calamari con salsa tonnata (calamari with tuna mayonnaise) 

It has finally happened! My new website has launched. I love the new website look and how easy it is to find recipes. My blog and cooking classes are key parts of the landing page plus I have launched a couple of new services: photography and the use of my beautiful dining room as a corporate boardroom (with me providing the catering). To celebrate the new look, this week’s post and recipe is all about my favourite seafood inspired by one of my favourite places in Italy – Venice. The recipe is from the gorgeous Tessa Kiros book “ Venezia – food and dreams”. When leafing through Tessa’s book, I was immediately drawn to the recipes with seafood, which is something I grew up eating very often.

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I remember accompanying my father to the Victoria Market to buy seafood when I was a child and more recently to the suburb of Clayton, to visit Steve the fishmonger. My father would request the best and freshest seafood, otherwise he threatened to go to the opposition and to see if their seafood was better (which of course it wasn’t, it was identical). Steve would let my father go to the back of the shop and select what seafood he wanted. He knew how to keep a customer happy.

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The rather incredible sauce for this dish is salsa tonnata (tuna mayonnaise), which is usually served with veal (“vitello tonnato”). The sauce is moreish (I had great difficulty not eating the whole lot before cooking the calamari) and marries beautifully with briefly grilled calamari and a squeeze of lemon. This is a delightful spring or summer dish accompanied by a glass of Prosecco from Valdobbiadine.

Calamari con salsa tonnata (calamari with tuna mayonnaise)

Serve 4 as an entrée

500g calamari (weight cleaned, about 1kg before cleaning)
95g tin tuna, drained
1 tablespoon capers in vinegar, drained
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (see below)
fresh parsley, leaves chopped as a garnish
lemon wedges, to serve

Mayonnaise:
1 large egg, yolk only
1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt to taste
200ml light olive oil

To make the mayonnaise, place the yolk and lemon juice in a bowl and whisk lightly. Add the oil in the slow steady stream, whisking the whole time until you have added all the oil and it thickens. Salt to taste and add a bit of lemon juice if needed.

To prepare the calamari (if the fishmonger has not already prepared it for you), pull on the head firmly until it (and the innards) separate from the body and wash thoroughly. Carefully remove the quill and the split the body along the line of where the quill was and open it out flat. Remove any skin and wash again. Remove the wings (they are very good to eat) and score both the wings ad the body in a criss-cross pattern. Place in a bowl of clean water. Cut the legs just below the eyes and leave them whole if small of else cut in two. Repeat for remaining calamari.

To make the tuna mayonnaise, place the drained tuna and capers in a small food processor and pulse until smooth. Place in a small bowl with the mayonnaise and mix. Set aside.

Heat a griddle pan to high. Drain the calamari pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Once the griddle is hot, place the calamari pieces in a single layer (do this a couple of times if needed, do not overcrowd) and cook until the flesh turn white and the edges start browning. Turn the calamari pieces over and cook until browned. Making sure they do not cook for more than a few minutes on each side or they will become chewy.

Place on individual serving plates, drizzle the tuna mayonnaise, garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.

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