is a quick and easy dish of delicious squid and baby octopus cooked to perfection with sweet roasted peppers, offset by the slight bitterness of the escarole (chicory) and peppery flavours of chili, all infused with bursts of plump small tomatoes. And don't forget to finish with a squirt of fresh lemon to bring it all together!
The recipe here is for a starter size plate, but you could easily double the quantities and serve this with a little wild rice as a main course. The quantities of squid and octopus may look a lot, but don't forget that there's a lot of water there, which they will lose when defrosted. If you can buy fresh, reduce the squid and octopus quantities by half.
How to make Sautéed Calamari:
Defrost the squid and baby octopus in a bowl of warm water. Usually frozen squid has already been cleaned but, if necessary, clean by removing the strip of clear cartilage.
Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, squeeze the juice from the lemon, cut the roasted peppers into long thin strips, not unlike matchsticks (it's called "Julienning"). Rough chop the escarole - you can use curly endive (chicorée frisée) if you want, but I find it a bit too bitter.
In a medium size pan, boil some water then reduce the heat to simmering and poach the calamari for a few minutes till it firms up. Place it in a strainer to allow all the excess water to drain off. Now repeat the process with the baby octopus (you can use the same water) until the octopus just tightens up a little (again, just a few minutes)
In a large frying pan, melt the butter and add three tablespoons of olive oil. Throw in the firm calamari and baby octopus, a generous pinch of salt and give a quick stir.
Add the cherry tomatoes, roasted peppers, and escarole to the frying pan. Pour over most of the lemon juice. Add another pinch of salt and sprinkle over 1 tablespoon (or more if you want!) of the chili flakes. Add a few twists of freshly ground black pepper, then stir well and sauté for about 2 minutes. Give the pan a final mix and serve with a final pinch of crushed red chili, the remaining lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Don't try poaching the calamari and octopus at the same time. One will firm up before the other!