At this moment, as I look out of my living room window, I can see three people jogging along the greenway-a dedicated bicycle and pedestrian path that runs through Minneapolis. It is twenty degrees outside but these runners are dressed for it, with a striking resemblance to Kurt Russell in The Thing.
This is one of the most outstanding traits about Minneapolis: there is a huge emphasis towards health. Winter does not stop these people from venturing outdoors; in fact, it serves as an additional medium for sports. Cross country skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing. And when the condition get unbearable, the gyms the packed. Summers transform the city from a brownish-grayish frozen tundra to a lush green, bustling, cycling, running, wind sailing, metropolis. Being the city of lakes, people here seem to congregate around them as soon as the temperature reaches above fifty degrees.
As dedicated as people here are to their outdoors and their health, Minneapolitans are zealous about the local restaurant scene. New restaurants spring up on a regular basis. Unfortunately, possibly due the current economic situation or the fact that ninety percent of restaurants fail within the first two years, the city is seeing many new restuarants close their doors. Temple, Indio and most recently, La Bodega, a small tapas restaurant at the corner of Lyndale Avenue and Lake Street. How ever others may have felt about the restaurant, I personally felt that the best tapas here were the gilled eggplant slices and the stuffed squid.
So, what's a girl to do when the restaurant food she wants is no longer available? Make it herself of course! La Bodega's version was stuffed with raisins, breadcrumbs, garlic and I assumed the underlying spanish flavours of extra virgin oilive oil, olives or capers, and herbs de provence. Here is what my version of stuffed squid looks like and how to make it.
Spanish Stuffed Squid
Serves 4 to 6
10-12 whole squid with tentacles on
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup diced onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, diced
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup raisins
1 tbsp capers
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 bay leaf
1 bell pepper
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1. Remove the tentacles from the rest of the squid and finely chop them. Place the squid and chopped tentacles in separate bowls and refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions, garlic, bell pepper, thyme, and bay leaves. Saute until onions soften, about 6 to 7 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Coarsely chop capers and stir into onion mixture; cook for another two minutes. Turn of the heat and stir in chopped squid tentacles and chopped parsley. Mix well and remove skillet from over the heat. (The residual heat will slightly cook the tentacles, which will then finish cooking once stuffed in the squid and placed in the oven. )
3. Using a small spoon or your fingers, fill each squid body three quarters full with filling mixture. Secure the top with a toothpick. Place stuffed squid into a greased baking dish and brush lightly with extra olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Serve immediately.