I have had squid prepared many ways, but never in a Milanese cutlet style until Tanya and I encountered this dish on our trip to San Diego when we went to Anthony’s Fish Grotto. The calamari cutlet was a thick slab, like a veal cutlet, quite different from the smaller version of calamari I am accustomed to cooking on the East Coast, and yet very tender. This popular calamari may be up to 2 feet in length; the giant squid can get to approximately 43 feet; in 2003m a colossal species of squid was discovered that can be upward of 46 feet.
I’m not sure which calamari was used for my Milanese at Anthony’s, but it was very good; I tested the recipe with the traditional calamari, and it worked deliciously.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 large calamari, bodies split open so they are flat (freeze the tentacles for another meal)
- 1 cup dried bread crumbs
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons drained tiny capers in brine
- Juice of ½ lemon
Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large, heavy skillet over high heat. Dredge calamari bodies in the bread crumbs and press well so that the crumbs stick. Slip the calamari into the skillet in one flat layer, and sprinkle with the oregano. Let the calamari caramelize on one side, about 1 to 2 minutes, then turn and weigh the bodies down with another heavy skillet to keep them from curling. Sear until just cooked through, another 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from skillet.
Add the remaining tablespoon of butter, the capers, and lemon juice. If the pan seems dry, add a few tablespoons of water, wine, or stock to deglaze and release the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Serve the calamari topped with the pan juices.