Squid Steamed at the Yangtze Restaurant in Ottawa
The Squid steamed with Scallion and Ginger you see pictured above is one I was recently served at the Yangtze Dining Lounge in Ottawa. Most of the dishes I had that day were not actually that great but this particular one was first class. Commonly, squid pieces are often dusted in a flour of some sort before steaming but these were steamed ‘clean’ and the effect was very well done.
I was rather curious about the rather odd pink color of the steaming liquid when I first saw it. There was nothing in the taste of the dish that suggested a source and I can only conclude that it was an artifact from the tentacles. Squid have an outer speckled membrane that can have a purplish color, but this is usually removed from the body. Doing so from the tentacles would be extremely difficult, though, and you can see that they are quite a vivid purple. Possibly this has leached into the steaming liquid, causing the coloring, but I am rather surprised that I have not seen this effect before.
Another rather unusual feature of this dish was that the pieces of the squid body so were very plump and thick that I might have have guessed that they came from a fairly large specimen if it weren’t for the fact that tentacles that were also steamed alongside were obviously from very tiny squid. I am not sure if the body flesh came from a different animal than the tentacles, or whether the flesh ‘plumped’ up during the steaming process, but, whatever the cause, the cooking was expertly executed and the result especially tender.
Beyond this, the steaming of the squid in this particular dish was enhanced by ginger and scallion. This is a very common way of preparing this Dim Sum specialty but, here, the aromatics were added very lightly so that they just came through as subtle background notes to the delicate, slightly sweet Squid. All in all, this dish was top-notch.