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Calamari with Potatoes and Piment d'Espelette

Pascal Rigo invented this fragrant calamari dish in order to showcase piment d'Espelette, which is a sweet, mildly spicy ground pepper native to the Basque country. It is available at specialty food shops, spice shops, and at Williams-Sonoma stores, 877-812-6235.

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  • 1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/3-inch dice
  • Salt
  • 6 ounces pancetta, sliced 1/4 inch thick and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 pound small cleaned calamari, bodies thinly sliced into rings
  • 1 teaspoon piment d'Espelette
  • 1/4 cup clam juice


  1. In a small saucepan, cover the diced potatoes with 1 inch of cold water and bring to a boil. Lightly salt the potatoes and cook them until tender, about 8 minutes; drain.
  2. In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the calamari and cook until it turns milky white, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the piment d'Espelette and clam juice and cook for 30 seconds longer. Season with salt and serve at once.

Suggested Pairing

The salt and spice in this warm salad will soften a wine's sharp acidity and make it taste fruitier. Choose a vibrant, spicy and generous white, such as a Spanish Albariño from the Rias Baixas region.

Contributed By Published March 2002

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