Salt and Pepper Calamari – P.F. Chang’s Recipe

Tender Calamari is Possible!

For most people, making tender Calamari is no easy chore.  Even restaurants struggle with it.  The reason is because of the cut they are using.  When you get it in rings, it’s slices of the body on those six inch squid, so it tends to be very chewy.  When you get all eight of the legs and tentacles, you are just getting the lower half of the same squid.  Understand?  Top and Bottom.  No matter what you do, Cooking Calamari like this isn’t ever going to make it any less chewy, and tenderizing them with a mallet is just ridiculous.  So you need another solution, and here it is; Calamari Steaks!IMG_0259

Thumb Smith's Food and DrugThis isn’t just a good alternative; it’s the best way to turn out Tender Calamari.  It’s not chewy this way at all.  It’s soft yet Crispy and very flavorful.  In fact I can eat an entire plate of it cooked this way, and you will to if you haven’t already.  Oh, and if you can’t find it at your local grocery or seafood market, tell them to order it for you.  How do you think I got these?  Smith’s Food and Drug just pitches me a phone call when ever anything I ask them to order arrives.  No extra cost to me, and they get exactly what I want, when I want it.  It’s sweet!

Anyway, the Salt and Pepper Calamari recipe can be found at various restaurants around the globe.  I think the most popular menus include P.F. Chang’s Salt and Pepper Calamari (my personal favorite), and Typhoon’s, which I don’t like at all.  So today I’m going to model P.F. Chang’s.  If you’ve ever had their recipe, you know it’s to die for.  So let’s dive right in to this Tender Calamari recipe and get started.

Tender Calamari Ingredients:Calamari Sauce Ingredients

2-4 Calamari Steaks Thawed and sliced
1-2 Green Onions thinly sliced
2 Pinches of Margarita Salt and Pepper

Marinade:

1 egg white
2 tbsp canola oil (any oil is fine)
1 pinch of Garlic Powder
1 pinch of Ginger Powder (Curry powder isn’t bad either)
½ tsp Soy Sauce
½ cup of Corn Starch

Calamari Dipping Sauce:

1 pt Hoisin Sauce
½ pt Black Bean Garlic Sauce (or Bean Curd)
1 pt Orange Chili Sauce
You can also add a little bit of sugar soy and vinegar if you’d like.

After ½ hour of marinating the Tender Calamari, dredge the slices through Potato starch, or corn starch until it is evenly coated, then fry at 375 degrees for 1 ½ minutes.  Be sure to separate Calamari slices with a spider or a slotted spoon while frying.  Then toss the Tender Calamari in a bowl with Slices of Green Onion and season with Salt and Pepper to your taste.

Tender Calamari
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Additional Images:Tender Calamari
Tender Calamari
Tender Calamari

Steamed Clams

Steamed ClamsSteamed Clams are GrrrrrrEAT!

For me, Steamed Clams have turned into a fun and exciting dish to snack on.  It really has that jaw dropping ooh and awe effect on people who really appreciate a whole plate of them when they hit the table.  These are Little-Neck Clams and for me, they have a very impressive and distinct taste.  Not to mention they are fun to cook.  Steamed Clams are an excellent appetizer, even if the dinner guests don’t particularly care for shellfish or seafood.  Can you guess why?  Take a look at this picture below.  It’s impressive, right?  Of course right.  So whether or not you get the credit you deserve for making such a scrumptious and tasty treat, at least you’ll get points for being eccentric.  This particular recipe couldn’t be any easier either.  All you need is 10 minutes and a few ingredients and you are off and running.

If you’re worried about the sand in Clam Shells and how to get rid of the Grittiness, there are several things you can do.  First off, the Clams I used in this video were Farm raised.  So if you are using these, you don’t really have to worry about the sand because they’re always cleaned out before they are shipped off.  Secondly, if you haven’t watched the video yet you’ll see that these Little-Neck Clams are rinsed and washed off before they are Steamed.  So consider that before you ponder your options.  If they are wild clams, just give them a soak in cold water for approximately 20 minutes.  I do the same thing with Crawfish only I cover them with salt so that they can purge.  Both clams and Crawfish spit out the muddy sand they’ve ingested as part of their daily diet.  You can also give them a real quick rinse after they’ve been steamed.  This helps to cut down on the Grittiness, if there is any.   And if you’re worried about it in the leftover Clam juice I turn into a Clam Salsa in this recipe, you can cheese cloth and strain the juice just before adding the other ingredients.

Steamed Clams Ingredients:

1 inch water in your pot
2 tbsp butter
1 Chopped Garlic Clove
2 Chopped Green Onion (scallions)
Black Pepper to taste and Paprika, Cayenne or Chili Flakes
Topped with a Sprinkle of some freshly chopped Parsley

Stuffed Portobello/Portabella Mushrooms

IMG_0209

IMG_0174Delicacy is Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

Stuffed Portobello mushrooms, something I order every time I see it on the menu, which is rare, but I love how these things just sit in melted butter, begging to be plucked from their assortment.   I was baffled by these years ago.  The flavors were confusing to me and I wasn’t quite sure, a) What was in them, and obviously b) How to make them because of it.  However, snooping around on Pinterest recently I ran into a photo someone had posted and it hit me!  So I figure that maybe there’s a few of you out there that have felt the same way I’ve felt about this recipe and I thought I better crank out my theory about how they’re made.  Very often I challenge myself this way without sourcing any written recipe, just to see if I can do it.  Well, I can and I did.  So I reworked the recipe for everyone here to enjoy for themselves, and I’ve got to tell ya, I’m really proud of this one.  Not only because it’s a fabulous wow factor dish, but because it’s ridiculously easy.  That being said, make sure that you crank out this recipe next time you’re craving Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, it’s a Winner!

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms Ingredients:

6 Small or 2 Large Portobello Mushrooms
1 Pieces chopped Bacon
2 Tbs Bell Pepper
1 Green Onion chopped into Scallions
1 cup Seasoned Bread Crumbs (Turkey Stuffing is GREAT)
¾ Cube melted Butter
½ cup Water
Sprinkle Freshly chopped Parsley and Mozzarella Cheese
Over the top of the Stuffed Portobello Mushroom