Calamari with Pancetta Ft. Chef Mike Carrino
The Feast of Seven Fishes is a long standing tradition in my family - and for many Italians and Italian-Americans! Just don’t ask why it’s “fishes”! I was SO excited when Chef Mike Carrino of Pig and Prince in Montclair NJ said he’d be sharing a calamari recipe with us - PERFECT for the holiday season!
I love how Chef lets the ingredients really do the work in this dish - layering in flavors with his house-cured pancetta and plenty of fresh vegetables. It’s a great example of how good, fresh ingredients can create a delicious dish!
Don’t be afraid to work with fish, calamari in particular! I know seafood is something that makes a lot of new cooks nervous…but don’t be afraid to give it a shot! Chef explains how to select, clean and prepare the squid - but you can also ask the fishmonger at the grocery store to clean and cut it up for you!
While this dish is rather simple - Chef speaks to the art of cooking - and why, sometimes, it’s important that a dish take time, that WE take our time as cooks in preparing something. Especially around the holidays. Certainly “quick and easy” weeknight dinners are a necessity for almost every busy person - but the holidays are a great time to slow down, take stock (make stock) and really create something wonderful for family and friends. Personally I can think of no greater gift than a home cooked meal, or a tin of freshly homemade cookies! Because what’s the value in those? It’s your TIME! And that is an invaluable gift.
I hope you’ll add this dish to your holiday menu, or if you prefer - you can enjoy it at Pig and Prince! Watch to the end of the video to see what other events Chef has planned at the restaurant!
Calamari with Pancetta
1 lb. fresh calamari (squid), sliced into 1/2 inch rings and tentacles
1/2 C. diced pancetta
1/2 C. diced red onion
1 jalapeno, sliced thin (no seeds or veins)
1/2 Tbs. chopped garlic
1 Tbs. minced shallot
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tbs. fresh basil, chiffonade (thinly sliced)
1 Tbs. butter
olive oil (Chef recommends Olio Fresca)
salt & pepper to taste
In a large saute pan over medium heat, slowly render the fat from the pancetta.
Once the fat is liquid and the pancetta a deep brown color, add red onion and jalapeño, cook for 3-5 minutes.
Add in shallot and garlic and cook for another minute. Turn heat to high and when everything is very hot, add the calamari. Squeeze lemon over the squid and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes.
Add in butter and basil. Remove from heat and serve immediately drizzled with fresh olive oil and topped with more fresh basil.