Spinach: Not the most kid-friendly vegetable, you’ve got to admit. So when I put a heaping dish of this Garlicky Squid with Spinach Tsigareli in front of the kids the other day, it’s no wonder they kept pushing the green leafy strands to the edge of the dish and asking instead for more squid to compensate. Can’t blame them can you? Let’s just hope they’ll grow out of it one day; they’ll be missing out if they don’t. Because the kids may have been picking at the spinach strand by strand, but that didn’t keep ME from eating virtually the whole pot.
Yeah spinach can sometimes be a bland mushy green mess, but with plenty of paprika, cayenne and a little garlicky squid broth it reaches a whole new level. Well, it’s still mushy (can spinach ever not be?) but it’s extremely flavorful nonetheless and it packs A LOT of heat. As for the squid, in my opinion this humble cephalopod is surely at its finest here. A little garlic, a touch of red wine, a couple of tomatoes, some fresh parsley. Okay, so it’s LOADS of garlic and you might be afraid to speak to others after eating this, but trust me it’s GOOD! And you’re doing this dish and yourself a huge disservice by not eating almost an entire loaf of bread with this.
Garlicky Squid and Spinach Tsigareli — Σκορδάτα Kαλαμάρακια με Σπανάκι Τσιγαρέλι
Serves 4 to 6
2 lbs. squid, cleaned
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of red-pepper flakes
1/3 cup red wine
1 cup whole tomatoes in juice, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 1/2 lbs. spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Hefty pinch of red pepper flakes
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Salt, to taste
Heat olive oil in a large skillet or shallow pot. Add the parsley, garlic and red-pepper flakes and cook stirring for a couple of minutes. Increase heat to medium-high and add squid, cook sitrring occasionally for a couple minutes more. Add wine and simmer briskly, uncovered, until slightly reduced, 7 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juice, water, salt and freshly ground pepper and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until squid is quite tender, 40 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, add the shallots and cook until fragrant in a large skillet. Stir in the paprika, red pepper flakes and cayenne pepper. Add the spinach and stir to coat. Let the spinach wilt and cook down about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt, to taste, then remove from heat and set aside until the squid is cooked.
Once the squid is done, mound spinach in a dish, top with squid and plenty of hot broth and serve.