“Can you come up with a tastier, more satisfying, more consensual dish than calamari fritti?” asks restaurateur and Guardian columnist Yotam Ottolenghi in the paper today. Well, it’s a tough call but his other mouthwatering recipes would certainly run it close. Ottolenghi’s food is full of flavour and therefore quite a challenge for any accompanying wine but here’s what I would choose.
Calamari fritti with cucumber salad
I love the sound of this batter with its touch of chilli but the element of the dish to match is going to be the Thai style cucumber salad which contains lime juice, palm sugar, more chilli, mint and coriander. That would make a dry Riesling an enjoyable choice but I’m not sure I wouldn’t still go for the pairing I’d choose if the calamari were just being served straight with a wedge of lemon: a glass of sparkling wine, a nice cold lager or a witbier like Hoegaarden.
Chargrilled squid with chana dal and preserved lemon
Don’t be sidetracked by the chana dal. This is very much a dish based on Mediterranean and Moorish flavours - sweet roast peppers, preserved lemon, harissa and coriander which together with the tasty chargrilled squid will pack quite a punch. I’d probably go for the zesty citrus flavours of an inexpensive Rueda (a Sauvignon Blanc-style Spanish white) or a crisp fruity rosé which stands up well to spicy food.
Squid with sweet potato and lemon salsa
Again there are vigorous flavours to contend with here -as well as the sweet potato and sharp lemon there are olives, capers, garlic, anchovies and olives and the whole dish is finished with chilli oil. I’d want a very dry crisp white with this - an Albariño, a Picpoul de Pinet or a good Pinot Grigio.
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