Calamari Braised with White Wine, Tomatoes & Spinach


Spring has been really snoozing on the job. Rather than bursting with cherry blossoms, the new season has only brought soggy, sort-of snow and below-freezing nights. This might be our latest bitch and moan as we bundle up in scarves on the subway each morning, but it’s actual, literal bad news for local orchards. Seems that peaches in Upstate New York may not make an appearance this summer, unless these small-scale farmers have the time and resources to bundle their trees with heaters. Perspective.

But since it’s still more cold than warm out, I thought a long-simmered, weekend project for the stovetop seemed apt. And since the Long Island fishmonger Blue Moon Fish has returned to the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket for the spring — cough — and summer, I figured on seafood for that. A celebration for their welcome return!

Sauteed squid and minced aromatics bubbles in wine

I really wanted to make stuffed calamari, after reading Francis Lam’s recipe for it in The New York Times. But stuffing squid sounded tedious and I didn’t have the patience to crush and toast breadcrumbs. So I made a “deconstructed” version of that — instead of putting the bread and flavors inside the squid and stewing it together, I put the stewed squid on top of toasty bread. (You could put it on pasta, too.) Oh, and added some handfuls of fresh spinach leaves just for fun.

Spinach was also looking good at the Greenmarket, and of course, is good for you, too

Once I decided on not stuffing calamari but making a dish of similar elements, there were two recipes that gave me guidance, which were sort of mashed together. I pulled out an old favorite cookbook, the circa-1950 The Talisman Italian Cook Book by Ada Boni. A classic of Italian housewives, this book is so chock full of recipes — often with numerous iterations to account for all the regional variations on which — it’s like an overflowing pot of ribollita.

Ada Boni’s 1950 classic “The Talisman Italian Cook Book,” and common ingredients for its recipes

One thing that I love about older Italian cookbooks is that you see a lot of anchovies being used. Whether that’s because Northern Italian cuisines became trendier in the last few decades or because American palates were like, Ew, gross! about the little preserved fish, I’m not sure, but maybe it’s a bit of both. One recipe I found for calamari in Ada Boni’s book was “Calamari Marche Style,” which called for garlic, dried chilies and minced anchovies to sautee the squid with then white wine to braise it further. Sounded great to me. Another recipe was for “Squid with Chard,” a similar thing but with Swiss chard leaves and tomatoes along white wine to braise.

Sauteeing garlic, minced anchovies and red chili flakes

So I mixed it up. Honestly, the squid would have tasted great if you just stopped at Marche Style and went no further. And it would have been fine without the anchovies such as with the chard (or in my case spinach) recipe with tomatoes. But I think this hybrid dish has a lot of uses for it, with pasta and so forth — which is good for me, as I was making enough for plenty of leftovers. And it seems like the best of both worlds in terms of taste and leafy-green nutrition.

Serving the stew on bread, crostini-style

You can also serve this stuff on baguette slices as crostini. Or just dunk the bread into a bowl of it, like big croutons. And after cooking calamari enough so that it’s really tender like this, the texture won’t suffer at all from reheating from the fridge.

Just so you know, The Talisman Italian Cook Book was totally a rummage sale find; I’m not an archivist nor cookbook historian, as much as that title might appeal. I truly just found it in someone’s crates of other crap sitting out on their stoop one day. I find a lot of good stuff that way, too. By paging through its vast number of recipes — which have no photography to speak of — I feel that I’ve taken in so much about Italian cooking. And from that, how easy it is to pick and choose your dinner no matter what you may find in your locale. Small plug: If you’re going to find yourself in a seasonal vegetable-overload soon by joining a CSA for the summer, I recommend this book which I wrote about recently at Edible Brooklyn. Hopefully by skimming through its pages, you can be inspired likewise to “deconstruct” a more complicated dish, or just imagine one up.

Stewed Calamari with White Wine, Tomatoes & Spinach
(makes about 4-6 servings)

1 lb cleaned squid
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 anchovy fillets, minced
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 cup dry white wine
28-oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes, roughly chopped or crushed by hand
1 large bunch spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Separate the tentacles from the squid and slice the bodies into about 1/2″ rings. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over high heat and add the garlic, anchovies and chili flakes. Stir for about 30 seconds, or until bubbling and fragrant. Add the squid and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until all the liquids released from the squid has mostly evaporated. Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has mostly evaporated.

Add the tomatoes and spinach, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired. Serve with crusty bread or with pasta.

Cost Calculator
(for 4-6 servings)

1 lb cleaned squid: $4.99
4 cloves garlic: $0.25
2 anchovy fillets: $0.50
1 cup dry white wine: $2.00
28 can tomatoes: $4.00
1 bunch spinach: $3.00
salt, pepper, 2 Tb olive oil, red chili flakes: $0.50

Total: $15.24

Health Factor

Five brownie points: Shellfish and cephalopods such as squid have long been shamed for having high cholesterol. But that comes along with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as well as protein and vitamins and minerals. And you’re not eating it deep-fried here. In fact, you’re eating it with a lot of spinach, the super-green superfood, with plenty of antioxidants and Vitamin K.

Green Factor

Seven maple leaves: Squid is also an abundant and sustainable seafood. (You don’t have to worry about mercury accumulation in them, either.) They’re also inexpensive compared to fish fillets and always in season, so try em more often when you’re feeling like seafood.

59 Responses

  1. totositehotpro

    Really informative article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  2. SUZUKI Motorcycle is an a few-wheeled engine vehicle. There are three significant sorts of cruisers: road, rough terrain, and double reason. Inside these sports, there are many sub-kinds of Motorcycles for various purposes. There is frequently a hustling partner to each sort. Every setup offers either a particular preferred position or wide ability, and each structure makes an alternate riding stance.
    SUZUKI Motorcycle Preferences or Inconveniences
    SUZUKI is among the most prepared creators of bicycles and they serve an overall market conveying alongside Suzuki Motorcycle Price in BD a wide grouping of contraptions going from quality models. A segment of the specialists Samsung phones have consolidated the going with

  3. Avike Marlie

    KTM Bike may be a two- or three-wheeled automobile. There are three major sorts of motorcycles: street, off-road, and dual purpose. Within these types, there are many sub-types of motorcycles for various purposes. There’s often a racing counterpart to every type. Each configuration offers either specialized advantage or broad capability, and every design creates a special riding posture.
    KTM Bike Advantages or Disadvantages
    KTM is among the foremost seasoned makers of bikes and that they serve a worldwide market delivering alongside KTM Bike Price in Bangladesh a good assortment of contraptions going from quality models. some of the experts

  4. Oppo Mobile Price in Bangladesh

    From September 2014, their Smartphones were authoritatively accessible in Bangladesh. They have begun their excursion with seven cell phones.
    • The organization presented telephones like Oppo N1 Mini and N3 in 2014 that contained exceptionally inventive turning camera innovation so we give all the most recent updates on Oppo.
    • With this element, one could utilize a solitary incredible camera as both front and back cameras and we walk you through all Other Feature.
    • In their initial days, Oppo was for the most part known for high spending Android cell phones and we assist you with finding the best Oppo Mobile Price in Bangladesh.
    • In any case, presently, they have set up themselves in the exceptionally requesting low-mid range scene in Bangladesh alongside some mid-range and premium leader deliveries and we will refresh you. Telephones like Oppo A3s got a monstrous reaction among the youthful age for its stylish indent configuration, thin body, fine execution, solid battery, and a great camera. This one single delivery helped them to make a smooth method to 2021.

  5. If you are thinking that which mobile phone is the leading mobile phone? The answer is very simple. Yes, you are right. OPPO is the leading mobile brand ever. The price of Oppo mobile phones is increasing day by day. So, you have to be updated about the changing Oppo mobile phone price. On our beloved website, we have uploaded the latest information about the Oppo Mobile Price in Bangladesh. Oppo rolls out new mobile phones each currently then, however some area unit special in this they provide fantastic specs at insane prices! Oppo could be a leading smartphone
    Manufacturer within the world.


    I read your blog and I can’t stop my self to read your full blog.Keep up the good work!온라인바둑이


    Glad to find your article. It’s informative.

  8. 토토커뮤니티

    It’s really great. Thank you for providing a quality article. There is something you might be interested in. Do you know 토토커뮤니티 ? If you have more questions, please come to my site and check it out!

  9. 먹튀검증커뮤니티

    When I read an article on this topic, the first thought was profound and difficult, and I wondered if others could understand.. My site has a discussion board for articles and photos similar to this topic. Could you please visit me when you have time to discuss this topic? 먹튀검증커뮤니티

Leave a Reply