Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sizzling Calamari Al Diavolo

This kitchen experiment of mine (like any good recipe) has a back story. My husband I both enjoy eating out, a lot more than we should. In fact at one point we were going broke because we were eating out way too much. The funny thing is that we both like to cook and we are both good cooks. I think we were just tired. We also were finding it increasingly difficult to order when we were out because we didn't want to order anything that we could make at home (and better). We both have a kind of agreed upon policy to order things we can't make at home just as good.
One of our favorite chains to eat at is East Side Mario's. And I pretty much order the same thing every time. Sizzling Calamari Al Diavolo to start and then their Seafood Linguini. The Calamari dish was a fluke when we once ordered regular calamari and they brought us this by mistake. We were instantly hooked. I love this dish.
We are now pretty much reformed from eating out. Eating out has become a treat for once in a while once again. So it really was a treat to stop at East Side Mario's on our way home from a camping trip this August. And of course I had the Calamari. Since then I'd been thinking that there must be some way to make this. We have a cast iron skillet after all. Then last week at my grocery shop a bag of calamari just jumped out at me from the freezer section. I bought it. Last night I did my best to imitate East Side Mario's recipe. Their menu gives a few clues on what's in it. The rest is just my guess work. I was really happy with the results. So was my husband. He said I got the flavor bang on. Yay me!

East Side Mario's Menu reads:
Sizzling Calamari Al Diavoli
Lightly seasoned calamari with garlic, onions, read, green and hot cherry peppers served in a tomato broth. Spicy!

I couldn't find any cherry peppers, so used a jalapeno instead. I also realized I was out of green peppers, so I substituted a yellow in it's place. Here's my recipe:

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, cut into chunks
1 red pepper, cut into chunks
1 yellow pepper, cut into chunks (can use green)
4 cloves garlic, chopped into small pieces
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup fajita cooking sauce (I used PC Brand Memories of Mexico, but I think any tomato based fajita sauce would work)
2 tsp chicken bouillon powder
up to 1 cup water
2 tsp Tex-Mex seasoning
a few shakes Franks Red Hot Sauce
1 pound pre-breaded frozen calamari (this would be even better if you made your own breaded calamari I think)

Drizzle a cast-iron skillet with olive oil over medium heat. Add the veggies. As the veggies begin to soften add the fajita sauce, chicken bouillon, Tex-Mex seasoning, and Frank's Red Hot Sauce. Mix together. Let the veggies cook slowly to soften well. Don't be tempted to cook it fast or it will burn. Drizzle a little water as needed to keep the food from catching, but don't drown it. Once everything is cooked to done, add the calamari and mix in. Cook for just a couple of minutes to heat the calamari up (cooking too long will leave calamari rubbery). Serve immediately.

*The next time I make this, I'm going to try to deep fry the calamari and then mix it in, just to try to improve the texture a bit. Otherwise, really yummy.

**Edit Update - I made this again, but baked the calamari according to package directions first, then added it to the veggie mix. It was delicious! Much better than adding the calamari in without cooking it first.


Pam said...

I love calamari but never make it at home. This dish sounds great!

Chow and Chatter said...

thats so cool that you re created it cute post

Donna-FFW said...

Sounds delicious with a fajita cooking sauce! My hubby would be all ver this one!

Anonymous said...

you can get the hot cherry peppers at fortinos....

Kristen said...

thanks for the suggestion anonymous - we don't have fortinos where I live :(

Unknown said...

I am thrilled to find this post. And I cannot wait to try it. My backstory is similar to yours, but we now live in a small tow. No east side Mario’s.