Living by the ocean has changed my life forever.
And since I am not a sunny summer nor beach person, this can only mean one thing… oui ! Fruits de mer !
“Fruits of the sea”. Seafood. “Sea fruits”.
Call it however you prefer, but living on the East Coast has allowed me – and all my visitors throughout the years – to fruitfully enjoy a cheap and wide variety of deliciously tasty shellfish.
I’m no stranger to seafood or fish.
Yearly summer vacations on the coasts of Brittany and Corsica as a kid developed my strong liking for anything and everything coming directly from the ocean.
Rolled up pants. Scratched feet climbing on rocks. Sharp-eyed kids searching for small crabs, winkles and other sea creatures and treasures.
Full red beach bucket on the way home, proud of the daily catch.
A heaping plate of langoustines with crusty bread and a home-made mayo for dinner.
Or crispy lemon cod fritters (fritelle di baccàla) and grilled trouts with garlic and vinegar (trùita a l’àgliu e a l’acètu).
I can still smell the parsley slowly grilling with the trouts and garlic.
As I am preparing a trip to Spain for next month, reading more about the many wonderful things I am about to see and visit, looking at food pictures of the flavors of the Costa Blanca and Catalonia, I couldn’t pass up this opportunity to post my recipe that combines both my love for tapas and seafood.
Blanca from FriendsEat already got out of me in the interview she conducted back in November that one of my favorite restaurant is the tapas bar downstairs from my house.
C’est vrai, j’adore les tapas.
And there is no better way to plan a trip to Spain than with grilled calamari and a glass of Cava rosé.
Have you ever tried stuffing squid bodies with fresh bay leaves?
It makes a world of difference as they will soak up the strong flavors of the leaves.
Combined with lemon and mustard, it’s one dish that looks and tastes like a sunny-day-spent-on-the-coast all at once.
So here’s to Spain, abounding tapas and upcoming vacations!
Grilled Lemon Mustard Calamari Stuffed with Bay Leaves
for 10 squid bodies
even if you don’t have an outside grill, a tiny electric Foreman grill like I have will do the trick
10 squid bodies
2 lemons – juiced
2 teaspoons of mustard powder
1 teaspoon of Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt + more to taste
a shake of ground pepper
1 teaspoon of cane sugar
1 teaspoon of mustard – the hotter the mustard, the hotter the squids. Use a mild mustard or reduce to 1/2 teaspoon if you are sensitive
1 teaspoon of olive oil
13 fresh bay leaves
Start by boiling water in a big pot with 3 fresh bay leaves.
Stuff each squid body with a fresh bay leaf. Depending on the size of the bodies, you might want to stuff 2 leaves if they are big.
Remove the boiling water from the heat and plunge the squids in the water for 45 seconds. This will allow them not to shrink during the grilling process and it will make them tender in the end.
Pour the water and squids in a colander after 45 seconds and let them cool. Some bay leaves may have gotten loose in the water. Stuff them back in the squids if needed.
While the squids cool down, whisk the following ingredients in a medium bowl: lemon juice, mustard powder, Herbes de Provence, sea salt, pepper, sugar, mustard and olive oil.
When ready, fold the squids in the marinade, make sure they are well coated, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Heat up the grill and grill the marinated squids 15 to 30 seconds per side until they get a golden charred color.
Sprinkle with sea salt before serving. And do not forget to remove the leaves before eating the squid!