Thursday, 4 April 2013

Chipirones - tiny, tiny squid

Though all this cooking might be hard on the hands, it sure is easy on the eye. I just love mooching around the local shops, admiring their offerings. There are bakeries, greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers.

Then there are peculiar little freezer shops. I mean, it's not freezers they sell but they consist of huge freezers stocking everything from tortillitas de camarones, croquetas and other tapas treats... frozen. It's almost as if people here don't cook anything from scratch...?

The other day I walked down to Arroyo. Sure, our own freezer is so full I could probably open my own shop, but moderation has never been a forte of mine. I dropped by at my favourite fishmonger that also has a tapas restaurant next door speclialized in (you guessed it) fish and seafood where we often lunch. The selection in both of them is just divine. There's cod, salmon, mackerel, merluza, dorado, mussles, clams, scallops, razor clams, squid, cuttlefish, prawns... Most of the goodies on display I don't even recognize. But everything I want to try.

They remind me of the time I've spent in Brittany, where on Sundays I would go to the market and buy the lunch ingredients from the fishermen fresh in from the sea with their daily bounty. Oh la la...


This time my bounty consisted of chipirones, tiny, tiny calamari that I haven't often come across in the shops.

Chipirones, lightly floured and fried in oil is one of our tapas favourites. Easy, quick and gooooood. Once you get over their tiny eyes staring at you...

As a tapa this is enough for 4. As a racion it feeds 2.

500 gr chipirones
3 dl flour (for gluten-free teats, use rice four)
oil for frying
salt and lemon for serving

Let the chipirones thaw. Drain them in a colander and pat as dry as possible with kitchen towel - otherwise they'll just end up soft and soggy.

Toss in flour and fry in hot oil in small batches (learn here why). Drain on kitchen towel and serve with a generous sprinkling of salt and lemon. Do remember to keep changing the kitchen towel with each batch - once it's oily it won't absorb any residual oil from the chipirones and they won't stay crisp and gloriously crunchy.

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