Ensure you buy Australian calamari, which is fast-growing, short-lived and a prolific breeder. They are usually caught using nets which target them specifically, thus bycatch is not a big issue.
There are other sustainable elements to this recipe. We use up stale bread, we throw in the herb stalks because they’re full of flavour and texture too, and we just use one item for prep and one pan for cooking and serving, saving on washing up. Swap out the herbs for basil, sage, oregano or whatever you have.
This recipe also works well with sardines, which are very sustainable and incredibly cheap – I recently bought a whole bunch for 30 cents each. Ask your fishmonger to prepare them or watch Karen Martini’s video.
Calamari with herb crumb
- 500 g calamari, cleaned
- 70 g stale bread, roughly torn
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp flaked salt
- handful coriander leaves and stems
- larger handful parsley leaves and stems
- finely grated zest and juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra if necessary
- 150 g rocket, spinach or other leaves
1. To prepare the calamari, cut large bunches of tentacles in half vertically or keep whole if small. The two long tentacles are usually trimmed, but can also be eaten. Cut wings from hood, and slice along the hood to open it out into a flat sheet. Lightly score skin-side in a cross-hatch pattern, then cut into approximately five-centimetre pieces and set aside.
2. Blitz bread, cumin, salt and herbs in a food processor until a rough crumb has formed. In my Thermomix I do them for 10 sec/speed 7. Stir through lemon juice and zest. (If you don’t have a food processor, chop the bread and herbs with a knife and place in a bowl, then stir through the cumin, salt and lemon juice and zest.)
3. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat until it shimmers. Add the crumb and cook, stirring occasionally until golden-brown and slightly crisp.
4. Push crumb to the edge of your pan and add more oil, if necessary, to cook calamari. Again, wait until it shimmers before adding the seafood. Cook calamari on both sides, until it becomes opaque and lightly curled. Stir in crumbs.
5. Turn off heat and add rocket or spinach to the pan. Toss lightly together then take pan to the table to serve.
For great Thermomix recipes and cooking demos, sign up to Dani Valent Cooking.