Recipe 9: Chipirones Con Cebolla (Baby Squid with Caramelized Onion)

Yet another squid recipe. I dedicate this one to David Del Ross, who tried to make me a squidder in Newport, RI, but instead became my supplier in exchange for cooking his catch. It was a generous deal because David has plenty of squid recipes of his own and is a fine cook.

Ingredients:

– 1 medium sweet onion sliced thinly into whole rings.
– 1 lb. cleaned baby squids with tentacles
– 4 tbsp. butter
– 1 1/2 oz. ice cider
– Salt

Preparation:

The Onion
– In a sautée pan, melt the butter on low heat. When the butter is bubbling but not burning, add the onion, stirring as needed to keep the onions softening and becoming translucent slowly and evenly without frying.
– Keep the temperature low and give onions a long time to begin showing some brown from their natural sugars and the butter beginning to become caramel.
– Turn the heat up to medium-low to let a bit of very gentle frying accelerate the browning and even tinge the edges of the rings with a darker color, flipping the onions every minute or so to prevent them from completely frying.
– Stir in the ice cider, let it cook in a bit, adding its sugar and color, and remove the pan from the heat before burning the sugar on the onions or in the liquid.
– Remove the pan from the burner, scoop onions from the butter sauce with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the butter sauce in the pan.

The Squid
– Rinse the tubes and tentacles in salted water and drain well.
– Slice the tubes crosswise to make 3/8″ wide rings.
– Reheat the sautée pan to almost the high setting and toss in the rings and tentacles.
– Simmer, occasionally stirring just long enough for the squid to cook through and release its juices, but no longer, before adding in the reserved onions, stirring and cooking just long enough for the color of the onions and the skin of the tentacles to meld in the butter sauce.
– Serve on a shallow soup plate with a modest dollop of al dente white rice. Let the squid and sauce mix with the rice on your fork, not in the bowl. As the rice gradually does infiltrates the sauce in your bowl, it should be drowning in sauce; otherwise, you have too much rice.

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