Baked Squid

(“Calamari Oreganati”)

 

Baked calamari is a very popular and delicious dish prepared in Naples and in the Campania region. In the USA, it is served in some Neapolitan restaurants, where I had the opportunity to taste it several times and at Gargiulo restaurant in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York, where I have enjoyed it very often. 
Occasionally I made this Neapolitan specialty when I was cooking at Joe’s Focacceria on Avenue U in Brooklyn, and after many attempts, I came up with this recipe, that combines the sweet taste of the squid and its fresh and delicate scent with the lemony marinade, the pungent flavor of the oregano and the crunchiness of the breadcrumbs blended with the intense aroma of the olive oil. 
The use of fresh squid is a very important requirement, and the time to keep the squid in the marinade for at least six hours is a must.
It is a good recipe because all the preparations can be done ahead and it is easy to assembly and finish a few minutes before diner.

 

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 lbs. clean squid, tentacles and the bodies (cut about ½ inch thick) separated
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • peperoncino, hot red pepper flakes (optional)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup of chopped parsley
  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic
  • ¾ cup toasted breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 lemon for garnish

 

PREPARATION

The Marinade

In a large bowl, whisk together the zest and juice of 1½ lemons, the wine, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 bay leaf, peperoncino flakes (optional) and half of the parsley. Combine with the calamari rings and add salt and pepper to taste.

In a smaller pot, place the tentacles, 1 bay leaf, juice and skin of ½ lemon, 1 teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Shut off heat and leave tentacles in the cooking water for an additional 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove, set aside and when cold add to the bowl with the marinade and the squid.
Let it marinate for at least 6 hours.

 

The Breadcrumbs

Mix the toasted breadcrumbs with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the oregano.

 

The Calamari

Combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the garlic in a 10 inch skillet and place over a medium heat. When the garlic turns golden in color, remove skillet from the fire, combine with remaining parsley, the marinated squid, and place over high heat and toss for 5 minutes.

 

The Assembly

Using a slotted spoon, place the calamari in a large baking pan, remove and discard the bay leaves and garlic. Over a high heat reduce any juice left in the skillet to a thick consistency and sprinkle it over the calamari.
Dust all the breadcrumbs on top and place in the broiler until the crumbs are a golden-brown color. 
Serve hot, directly from the pan, garnished with lemon wedges.