While visiting my family in Spain I found fresh calamari at the market and I couldn’t resist the need to prepare it with its own ink sauce. In the United States, markets don’t sell the ink of the squid and as it doesn’t really add to the taste; it can be cooked without as well.

Calamari belongs to the cephalopods type of fish. They contain a small amount of black ink-like material located in a small sack near the eyes. When threatened by predators, the squid releases the ink to escape from capture. The ink in calamari is safe for human consumption.

As amazing as the look and behavior of these creatures is its nutritional value. Squid is rich in selenium, vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and cholesterol. It constitutes a balanced meal for children, helping growth at many levels.

It is very interesting how nature mixes nutrients in the perfect proportion. Squid has cholesterol, needed for brain development in children. Vitamin B2 is involved in converting carbohydrates, protein and fat into energy for cells to use. It is remarkable to observe that other organ meats rich in cholesterol also contain large amounts of this vitamin. Nature provides the source and the way to utilize it by our cells.

In the case of calamari, selenium aids in the formation of antioxidant proteins. These antioxidants prevent cell damage and the development of cancer and chronic disease. It also helps thyroid function and protects the immune system.

Ingredients for calamari:

Fresh calamari fillets, cut in pieces
onion
garlic
olive oil

Preparation:

In a saucepan heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add ½ onion and 1 garlic clove. When the onion turns transparent, add the calamari and stir for a couple of minutes. Add some water and salt and cook for about 1 hour, or until the squid feels soft when pinched by a fork. If ink is available, add it with the water.

Ingredients for Yellow Rice:

Yellow rice is prepared just like white rice, but adding saffron for the yellow color.
½ cup of rice
½ onion
1 garlic clove
parsley
olive oil

Preparation:

Heat up 1.5 cups of water and reserve. In a saucepan heat up 3 tablespoons of olive oil, add the onions and garlic (cut in small pieces). Stir for 1 minute. Then add the hot water and the parsley. Cook in medium heat for about 20 minutes.

Serve the calamari with sauce on top of the rice.

About the Author

Dr. Katalenas

Dr. Katalenas is a pediatrician and owner of The Pediatric Center of Round Rock and the author of the book "The Step Up Diet: From Scratch… The Quality, Quantity, and Timing Solution to Childhood Obesity", a guide to healthy cooking and eating for busy families.