RI lawmakers chew on proposed state appetizer

Legislators are biting into a proposal to make Rhode Island-style calamari the state's official appetizer.

A local chef cooked up several batches at the Statehouse Wednesday as a panel of lawmakers reviewed legislation that would give special status to the squid dish.

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Joseph McNamara, says his idea is meant to recognize the state's fishing industry and restaurants. Situated right in the middle of the Atlantic squid belt, Rhode Island's fishing fleet hauls in more than half of the squid harvested on the East Coast.

Rhode Island-style calamari is typically served with pickled banana peppers and tends to be more tender than the rubbery rings sometimes found elsewhere.

Chef Dean Scanlon says the secret is fresh ingredients, the right temperature and perfect timing.