Aruba still shows the influence the Dutch had on this Caribbean island. On one of my trips I visited Charlie's Bar with a KLM pilot friend. Charlie's Bar is one of the oldest watering holes on the island, and is now run by the second generation. The restaurant continues to thrive as it is very popular for their authentic and tasty food.
As I love local seafood I had the waiter order for me. He surprised me with the Creole Calamari, one of their signature dishes. I was fortunate to get their recipe and I have prepared it many times for family and friends over the years.
- 2 lb fresh Calamari, cleaned and cut into 1-3 inch rings
- ½ Head Garlic, cloves peeled and thinly sliced
- ¾ cup Onion, chopped
- ½ cup Carrots, peeled and finely cubed
- ½ cup Peas, fresh or frozen
- 3 Bay Leaves
- ½ cup Cognac or Brandy
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- In a large pan blanch cleaned calamari in boiling water for 2-3 minutes until tender, drain.
- Over medium high heat in a large skillet, add all ingredients and calamari. Stir well and cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves. Serve over rice or vermicelli noodles.