28 March, 2012

Last night's dinner.

I haven't done one of these for a while because I haven't made anything really all that fancy or exotic lately. Until last night. That picture, to your left, is squid and shallot alfredo on linguine pasta. That's right, squid.
I was grocery shopping last weekend and needed to get fish. (I like fish because, when I forget to get a cut of meat out of the freezer the night before, I can thaw it out in something stupid like five minutes.) I was looking at the Alaskan pollack, which was US$4.99 and thinking, I've never made pollack, when I looked up and to the right and saw squid for US$6.49.
It was on.
And, yes, I know squid is a cephalopod and not a fish. It's seafood, fuck you.
The back of the package said that I could just fry the tentacles and rings up in butter with lemon and garlic - real creative, I know. I didn't want to do that. I could've also made calimari but I find that calimari is basically an appetizer, not a meal. I was going to say something derogatory about calimari right there but I couldn't justify it.
So, it was on my way home from the grocery store that I decided that I would make squid alfredo. I didn't know if that was a thing but it sounded like it ought to be. Maybe I invented something.
Now, here's the thing about alfredo sauce: I haven't made it in close to ten years. I've mentioned before about when I first moved out of my parents' house, I had no idea how to cook. One of the first things I tried to make was alfredo sauce, using one of those powder packs that requires you to just use milk and butter. Hot barbecue, did I ever fuck that up. As a result, I haven't made a cream sauce in nearly a decade.
But I've had that shit out of the jar and felt that, no. My squid deserves better than that. Even if I fuck this up, my squid deserves the effort. So I looked up alfredo sauce recipes and found that it was terrifically easy to make: cream (heavy or half and half), butter, parmigiano-reggiano, garlic, and parsley. I just had to run to the bodega to get some half and half.
I started by melting some butter with salt and pepper in my skillet - a stainless steel T-Fal that Georgie got me for Xmas that I've been using solely anymore - and tossing in some tentacle and rings, letting those swim around (well, not literally) on low heat while I crushed and minced three cloves of garlic.
Not seeing where this was, you know, fancy enough, I pulled out the shallot that had been languishing in the crisper for about two weeks and sliced up about half of that and tossed it in with the squid.
Not having a recipe right in front of me, I looked at what I had on hand and said, Alright, fuck it, and threw a quarter stick of butter into the pan with maybe a few table spoons of half and half, the garlic, the parmigiano-reggiano, and I sprinkled in some parsley (and, to be honest, I was surprised I had parsley; I never use it). Figuring - I don't know, for some reason - that that wasn't enough, I also tossed in some thyme. Because why not?
I started the linguine and stirred in some more half and half, a few more tablespoons, over low heat, and another quarter stick of butter, and then some more parmigiano-reggiano, and then a few more table spoons of half and half, and over and over for a while until the pasta was done.
How did it turn out?
Well, for one thing, goddamn. I did not fuck up the alfredo sauce. For another, the squid perfectly complimented the sauce, the shallots complimented the sauce, the squid and shallots complimented each other... it was just one big ol' plate of flattery. Even I was vocal about how good it was (if I may use "complimentary" in a different manner now) and I'm the motherfucker that made it. It's not like somebody made it for me and I was all, "Oh, my fucking god, this is heaven on a plate! How did you make this!? It's so good!" No, I was sitting there eating it and saying, out loud, mind you, Oh, my god, this is awesome! How did I make this!? This is, like, the fucking best thing ever! I don't even make steaks this good! I mean, the squid and the shallot... the shallot just works! And the sauce!? Get the fuck out of here with this sauce! I made this sauce! Gotdam! And then I said some shit about squid in a fake Italian accent. I don't remember what it was but it was probably the only eighty seconds where I shut up about myself and talked about the squid.
That's how good it was: I raved about my own cooking to the point where I had to adopt a completely separate personality to not talk about how fucking awesome I am.

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