Calamari with Garlic and Peas

(recipe, Evan Goldstein)

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This Spanish dish is good served with rice or potatoes.


  1. 3 lb. peas in the pod (about 3 cups shelled)
  2. ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  3. 6 to 12 cloves garlic, peeled
  4. 2 slices bread, crusts removed
  5. ¼ cup blanched almonds
  6. 1 small onion, finely chopped
  7. 3 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 1½ cups chopped canned tomatoes (see Note)
  8. ⅓ cup dry white wine, plus more as needed
  9. ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  10. ¼ cup chopped fresh mint
  11. 1½ lb. squid, cleaned and cut into ¾-inch rings


  1. Shell the peas and cook in a pot of boiling salted water until tender, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on their size. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the garlic and fry until pale gold, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to a bowl and set aside. Add the bread and almonds to the same oil and fry until golden, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bread and almonds to a plate lined with paper towels.
  3. Add the onion to the oil and sauté until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and ⅓ cup wine and bring to a simmer.
  4. Pound the fried garlic, almonds, and bread in a mortar with a pestle, or purée in a food processor. Add this paste (called a picada) to the tomatoes. Stir in half the parsley and half the mint. Simmer over low heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. The sauce needs to be liquid in consistency. If it is too thick, add a little water or additional wine. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the squid and the peas, and stir well. Cook until the squid is opaque, 1 to 2 minutes. (Do not overcook or the squid will be tough.) Serve immediately, topped with the remaining mint and parsley.


Taste the liquid in which the tomatoes are packed. If it is too salty, too tart, or metallic-tasting, discard it. Tomatoes packed in purée may be sweeter, but taste to make sure. Culinate editor's note: No rice or potatoes on hand? Serve over pasta instead. You can also substitute scallops or shrimp for the squid.