The dishes at Magica Roma in Pinelands, Cape Town, need no introduction. Some of them, like this Mediterranean calamari, don’t even need to be on the menu. The regulars who get it, get it, and those who don’t, well, here’s why it has a cult following:
- 1–2 brinjals
- 1 small butternut
- 1 onion, sliced
- 400 g calamari
- salt, to taste
- chilli, finely chopped, to taste
- 1–2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- olive oil, for serving
- balsamic vinegar, for serving
- lemon, for serving
1. Slice the brinjal and butternut very thinly – almost paper-thin. Grill quickly on a flat-top grill or a wide, flat, non-stick pan with very little oil until slightly soft and brown.
2. Deep-fry the onion in a shallow pan of oil until crispy and brown, then drain on a kitchen paper.
3. Layer the brinjal on a plate, in a flower arrangement of sorts, then top with the butternut, making sure to leave gaps so the brinjal can be seen underneath. Scatter over the crispy, onion.
4. Lightly grill the calamari in the flat pan with a little oil until slightly browned. Add then salt, chilli and garlic to the pan and toss together. Place in the centre of the “flower” arrangement of brinjal, butternut and onion.
5. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and lemon juice.
Production: Bianca Strydom
Photograph: Jan Ras
Food assistant: Ellah Maepa