Friday, August 9, 2013

That's not pasta... its (unfried) Calamari!

Picture from YELP: Pulpo a la Parilla (Grilled Octopus) at Jamonera in the Market East section of Philadelphia

I lived in Madrid one summer during college and the first meal my seƱora made was Paella, with what I thought was pasta rings. After chewing, I realized this was no pasta at all, but rather, my first exposure to un-fried calamari! Last summer I went back to Spain to Barcelona and became even more accustomed to eating calamari (squid), “pulpo” (octopus), fresh sardines, anchovies, and other raw seafood with all the body parts! All of these sea foods are fantastic for you (when they aren’t fried!) and underappreciated in their true form in the United States. They are fantastic sources of protein for the fact that they are low in calories and high in omega-3’s. One 3-oz portion of calamari has only 78 calories, but 13 grams of protein and the little fat that is in calamari is predominately of the omega-3 variety. Calamari is also a rich source of vitamins B6, B12, E, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.

Another benefit of wild market-caught squid/calamari is that it is incredibly sustainable and usually pretty cheap! So, it is a great way to get in one or two of your seafood servings each week. Always check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium site or other similar resources to find the most sustainable variety of seafood you plan to eat.

My recommendations: I get calamari steaks from Whole Foods since they are often very cheap there. You can also buy frozen squid at most supermarkets and definitely at fish markets. I recommend using squid in seafood stews or grilling. has plenty of “healthy” squid recipes for you to choose from. So this week I encourage you to try something new and experiment with squid, octopus, anchovies, or sardines (ideally fresh and not salted!).


Picture source: 

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