1400122_10151694032697055_370224893_oI was driving along the Pacific Coast Highway one night and saw all these fishing boats close to the shoreline. It was a full-moon night and you could see the moonlight reflecting on the ocean. I pulled over to take some photos and I asked some other people who were taking in the view what the fishermen were hoping to catch. They told me squid. Today, when I went to the Asian market, there was squid — on sale. I asked the butcher where the squid came from. He told me it was locally caught. I know many people only have squid as calamari — and usually fried. I grew up on lots of seafood — fish, crab, clams and yes, squid. My mother usually would cook the squid “adobo” style. She’d clean the squid and then saute it in soy sauce and vinegar. Other times, she’d grill it. Every once in a while she would stir-fry it with bell peppers, which happens to be the way I like squid the best. The thing about squid is that it cooks up very quickly — but you have to cook it just right. Undercook it and it’s raw. Overcook it and it becomes chewy and tastes like rubber. When I cook squid, I always keep a watchful eye to make sure I don’t overcook.

2 garlic cloves
1/2 large onion
2 green bell peppers
1 red bell pepper
6 plum tomatoes, quartered
1 pound cleaned small squid
4 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup soy sauce

Cut onion half lengthwise into thin slices. Cut bell peppers into long thin slices. Set aside onions and bell peppers. Cut flaps and tentacles from squid sacs. Cut sacs into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Half tentacles and flaps lengthwise. Set squid aside. Heat a wok over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons peanut oil. Add garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add onion and stir-fry until softened. Add peppers and stir-fry until crisp-tender. Add tomatoes and soy sauce. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil to wok. Stir-fry half of squid until just opaque, about 30 seconds, and transfer with juices to bowl of vegetables. Add remaining tablespoon peanut oil and stir-fry remaining squid, transferring to bowl. Return squid-vegetable mixture to wok or skillet and stir-fry until heated. Season stir-fry with salt and pepper to taste.