Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lenten Recipe: Binusog na Pusit or Stuffed Squid

Prepared by: Chef Reggie Torres

Chef Reggie Torres has a long and distinguished career in the culinary arts industry. He has lived in Paris, France for three years and has mastered the French menu interpretation along with preparation of classical French cuisine and advance French pastries. He has traveled Europe learning and honing food design, Hors d'oeurves, theme buffet, tallow sculpture, meat and fish decorations. He has worked with Chinese instructor Kem Home, blending Eastern and Western influences and with Italian Chef Giovanni Leoni, mixing the northern and southern Italian cuisine.

Squid is one of the most favored seafood in the world not only because of its peculiar shape, but also because of the many dish one can make out of it.  Japan is known to consume the largest number of squids.  In the Mediterranean, squid is referred to by the Italian term "calamari" (singular calamaro), which was later on adopted by other parts of the world using calamari in any culinary dishes that include squids.

On November 2, 1978, the largest squid ever caught was in Thimble Tickle Bay, Newfoundland. It weighed two tons and was 55 feet long.

Known to have the advantage of being low in fat and calories but  rich in protein and minerals, squid is usually cooked fried (fried calamari), stewed, or be added as an ingredient in pastas and soups; its shape is also ideal for stuffing ham, rice, or cheese.

In the Philippines, stuffing the squid or pusit is also popular especially at present when many Filipinos are currently observing the season of Lent. They like stuffing pusit with with tomato and onions then brushing it with a soy sauce marinade and then grilling it; or elaborately filling it in with finely chopped vegetables, squid fat, and ground pork.

Since Lent calls for fasting or refraining from meat as a sign of repentance, Pinoys like to cook squid by having it stuffed with cheese instead, thus, calling it as binusog na pus it.  

Adopted from the stuffed squid of the Mediterranean, binusog na pusit is usually stuffed with white cheese or the kesong puti. Ricotta, parmesan, or any cheese of preference can also be used.

The pusit is prepared for cooking  by holding it with one hand and reaching inside its body with the other, pulling away the head along with its tentacles. The dark skin is peeled away leaving a transparent cartilage that resembles a plastic, which also has to be pulled away. The body is then rinsed with water.

After washing, the pusit is set aside while the cheese is briefly cooked together with garlic, bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. The squid is then stuffed with the cheese mixture, sealed,  fried for a minute, and is simmered with a tomato mixture. After simmering for several minutes the binusog na pusit  is ready to serve.  

(Stuffed Squid)
Chef Reggie Torres copyright 2010
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Serves 4

½ lb roma tomatoes – diced
cooking oil
1 ½ cup yellow onion – finely chopped
6 cloves garlic – finely chopped
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg beaten
2 ½ oz ricotta cheese
2 ½ oz parmesan cheese
4 large squids – cleaned , remove the inners
½ cup green onion
Salt and Pepper

1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a non stick frying pan. Add 1 cup onion, cook until translucent.
2. Add ½ garlic, cook for 1 min. Add bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
3. Fill the squid with cheese, stuffing but do not over stuff, secure end with toothpick.
4. In a clean frying pan,  heat 2 tbsp oil. Add squid, cook for 1 min. Remove.
5. Add ½ cup onion, cook.  Add 1/2 garlic cook for 1 minute. Stir in tomato.
6. Simmer for 5 minutes until thick. Return squid to the pan and cook. Cover
for 10 minutes. Serve.
Happy Eating!

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