There are so many food blogging events, but so little time. The small hand full of marvelous events that we already enjoy participating in has us scrambling till the very last wee hours of the night to submit our contribution. Procrastinating might be the evil force hiding behind our 2am post writings, but some minds work better under pressure. In our case, it’s two. But between two very busy jobs and continuous projects in the works, we blog when we can and that means late into the night. And by the way, make that a double cocktail at 1:23 am to alleviate any writers block!
Ironically, as much as we enjoy drinking and pairing our foods with wine, we’ve yet to participate in any event focused on wine. Luckily, there are some mighty fine folks out there in the blogosphere who are looking out for our inebriating interests. They are Denise and Lenny, the power couple behind the beautiful and delicious blog, Chez Us. They informed us of Wine Blogging Wednesday, a great event that has wine lovers finding a wine that is fits the theme for that month, then write about their tasting notes. This month’s theme has everyone reveling in old world Riesling, which is hosted by Tim over at Wine Cast. A monthly event like this that requires drinking wine is too good to pass up, so we’re joining in on the festivities and sharing our riesling notes on a German 2005 Veldenzer Elisenberg Spatlese by Weingut Max Ferd Richter.
Old World Riesling is an exciting theme for us this month because we were planning to pair this old world spatlese with some Vietnamese stuffed squid in spicy fish sauce. Todd has been craving this wickedly delicious, but rather time consuming, squid dish, which has been a staple and favorite on our Viet family-side for so many years. But the time in making our pork stuffed Vietnamese squid is worth every slimy, gut cleaning, ink-sac squirting effort. So we headed down the coastSan Pedro’svarious seafood vendors at the San Pedro Fish Market, searching for fresh, baby squid. A major port town in Los Angeles County, San Pedro is a busy shipping port and harbor that is a great source for fresh, local and international seafood. Here, fresh fish, crab, lobster are brought in daily and to our delight, there was plenty of fresh squid at our stuffing disposal.
This Spatlese was quite tasty! It had a moderate nose of green apple, peach, and a bit of honeysuckle forecasting what was about to be tasted. Upon drinking, those elements were confirmed, along with a moderate sweetness that is typically found in a Spatlese Riesling. The fruit was luscious with juicy peach now dominating the palate, but being complimented by the flora notes 1000 as well as the mildly tartness of the green apple characteristics. The wine was delicious on it’s own, but our main intent was to see how it would hold up to the challenging pair of this Viet Stuffed Squid and it’s palette dominating dipping sauce of Nuoc Cham. The Nouc Cham has a collage of salty, sour, spicy and sweet flavors, with the spicy being felt long and hard. With a fish sauce this spicy, it’s sometimes hard to find a wine that isn’t too harsh or clashing, or that just gets buried under the fish sauce’s power.
How did this Riesling do? When we eat the squid, we’ll wrap it in lettuce, fresh Viet herbs, then dip it in the Nuoc Cham. The mouth is left tingling and salivating for more. This Riesling married perfectly. The juicy fruit and sweetness of the wine drew out most all of the heat as well as rounding out the flavors. The fresh herbs were reflected back into the wine and more flora notes were discovered in the mouth. With the spice on the palate nearly extinguished by the wine, each bite and drink became nearly a virginal taste every time, with only subtle remembrances of the passing nibble lingering on the palate. As with any good pairing, both the wine and the food developed new qualities that were heightened in the dining experience.
As mentioned, these stuffed squids never fail to please, so we decided to share our ways of preparing and cooking these Vietnamese delicacies with a video! One of the challenges of cooking stuffed squid is to thoroughly cook the filling, without drying out the squid. We prepared the squid in two ways, grilling it on the pan and deep frying them with the a panko bread crust coating. For the pan method, we suggest covering the pan with a lid for a minute or two to help cook the filling without rubberizing the squid. Deep frying them with the outer layer of egg wash and panko bread crumbs keeps the squid moist during this quicky fry. Both are two great options for you to play with. Also, you don’t have to burn in hell like we did with all these chili’s, just add enough to fit your level of heat and spice!
Vietnamese Stuffed Squid Recipe
Yield: Serves 4-6
Total Time: 30 Minutes
One of the challenges of cooking stuffed squid is to thoroughly cook the filling, without drying out the squid. Overcooked, rubbery squid SUCKS!! We prepared the squid in two ways, grilling it on the pan and deep frying them with the a panko bread crust coating. For the pan method, we suggest covering the pan with a lid for a minute or two to help cook the filling without rubberizing the squid. Deep frying them with the outer layer of egg wash and panko bread crumbs keeps the squid moist during this quicky fry. Both are two great options for you to play with. Wrap these squids with some fresh Viet herbs, cool cucumber, lettuce and dip it all in a spicy (optional) fish dipping sauce!
- About 20 baby squid, cleaned & gutted
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 2 cloves of crushed garlic
- 2 T finely minced shallots
- 1 T fish sauce or soy sauce
- 1 t freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 t sugar
- Oil for pan fry or deep fry
- 1 Egg, beaten ( for Deep fry)
- 2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs ( for Deep Fry)
- Clean squid by removing all innards and the cuttlebone (quill). Set on paper towels to remove excess water.
- In separate bowl, combine pork, garlic, shallots, fish sauce, black pepper and sugar.
- Keep the opening of the squid as wide as possible. Start by stuffing about 1 T of the pork stuffing inside body of squid. Fill to only about 1/2 to 3/4 full of the squid.
- “Sew” a thread through the opening of the squid to hold it together. Using another toothpick, poke holes in the squid body to create “vent” holes during cooking.
Do not OVERSTUFF! The filling will expand during cooking and the squid will shrink as it cooks. You don’t want any squid explosions in your pan!
- Heat about 2 T of oil in pan to low/medium heat. Place squid on hot pan and as squid starts to cook, slowly rotate the cook so that it cooks evenly on all sides. Cook for about 10-20 minutes, depending on how big your squid is and how much you stuffed it. Continue to poke more holes in squid with a tooth pick to release air and juices trapped inside the squid.
- Make sure the filling is cooked thoroughly. If needed, place a lid on pan for about 1-2 minutes to help keep the steam in to fully cook the squid filling. Remove the lid for the last 5-7 minutes of the cooking process to create a more grilled exterior textures for the squid. Remove from pan and enjoy!
Panko Deep Fry-
- Heat oil to medium heat for deep frying. In small bowl, mix egg. In separate bowl, add panko bread crumbs.
- Dip squid in egg wash, then dredge in panko.
- Gently drop in oil. Fry squid on both sides till filling is thoroughly cooked. Continue to poke more holes in squid with a tooth pick to release air and juices trapped inside the squid. The squid will cook quickly, so be ready to pull it out of hot oil immediately. Blot on paper towel.
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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.
Serve these squids with some fresh Vietnamese herbs, cool cucumber, lettuce and dip it all in a spicy (optional) fish dipping sauce