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Mediterranean Shrimp and Squid Braise

January 22, 2010
This is my first recipe from Molly Stevens’ The Art of Braising, which my brother got me for Christmas.  After reading so many rave reviews of it, and finding that I’ve been craving braises and stews this winter, I decided it was time to get a hold of the book.  The first recipe I made was this shrimp and squid braise for a traveling dinner party.  Braises are great for entertaining because they’re make-ahead and can be served whenever needed- no precise timing required.  I followed the recipe pretty much to the letter, omitting the onion of course, and serving it over linguine.  I did have a hard time getting the potatoes I bought to cook because I think they were a little large.  So, buy the smallest you can find and don’t be afraid to cut yours down into smaller chunks.  Or parboil them to give them a head start.  This recipe also proved something I’d heard- that squid needs to be cooked very fast (in seconds) or very slowly (in hours).  The slow braise makes it so tender.  Serves 4.
1 lb cleaned squid

3 T olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ c finely chopped onion
½ c finely chopped carrot
½ c finely chopped celery
½ c dry white wine
¼ c freshly squeezed orange juice
2 strips orange zest, about 3“ by ¾”
¼ cup or less freshly squeezed lime juice
1 strip lime zest, about 2“ by ½”
14.5 oz can chopped tomatoes
pinch red pepper flakes
¼ c chopped fresh parsley
¾ lb fingerling potatoes
½ c green olives, pitted
1 T capers
1 T unsalted butter
3/4 lb. medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
salt and pepper
Cooked pasta, optional
Soak squid in cold water, rinse thoroughly and chop into 1″ rings or pieces, and dry.  Heat oil in dutch oven over high heat until shimmering.  Add the squid, a handful at a time, so you don’t lower the temperature on the pot.  Add the garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, until squid turns opaque and shrinks up about 2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to bowl (don’t worry if a lot of the garlic clings to the squid).
Lower heat to medium high and add the onion, carrot, celery, season with salt and pepper, and return to a vigorous simmer.  Add the wine, orange and lime juices, orange and lime zests and simmer vigorously until reduced by half, about 7-10 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, crushed red pepper and 2 tablespoons parsley.  Return to simmer.  Add the squid and liquid back into the braise.  Turn heat to low, cover and simmer as gently as you can for 30 minutes.
Add the potatoes, stir, recover and simmer about 20 minutes.  Stir in the olives and capers, cover again and simmer until potatoes are tender, 15-25 minutes.  Add the shrimp, leaving the pan uncovered. Adjust heat to medium. Simmer until shrimp are cooked, 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the remaining parsley, add butter to soften if too acidic (I didn’t need this), salt and pepper to taste, and serve in shallow bowls with crusty bread, or over pasta.
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