The calamari at Tony’s Steakhouse is known Valley-wide as the best fried squid in town, says chef Freddie Milanes. The popular appetizer has been a highlight of Tony’s menu since it opened about five years ago at 221 W. Yakima Ave. Milanes, who has worked at the restaurant for three and a half years, says he often has requests from diners for the recipe, which he is glad to share.

So glad, in fact, that he is preparing the dish for the January episode of KYVE’s “Valley Fresh Fare,” which will air at 7 p.m. Monday.

“The calamari is very well known in Yakima for being the best in town,” Milanes says. “I get a lot of requests for ‘how do you do it?’ So I thought that would be a very good choice” for the television show.

But watching a professional prepare the dish is no guarantee that you’ll be able to pull it off perfectly at home, at least not the first time.

“It’s not for the beginner cooker, it’s for the people who are really passionate about cooking,” Milanes says.

But don’t be intimidated. While the technique of flash-frying squid pieces is difficult, it can be mastered with some practice.

“If you don’t succeed at first, just keep going,” he says. “It is a simple recipe, but it’s challenging to do.”

He will even occassionaly take would-be calamari cookers into the kitchen at Tony’s to demonstrate the technique, but they will still struggle with it at home the first few tries. Just don’t give up, he encourages them.

Along with the calamari, Milanes will be preparing a much simpler Steak Diane recipe on the show, with mashed potatoes as a side dish.

He chose the recipe for its simplicity and also the quality of the flavor — after all, Tony’s is a steakhouse. The pink peppercorns he uses are a specialty product that can be ordered online, or purchased at the farmers market during the summer months.

While chefs in January may choose an indoor method, Steak Diane is also good prepared on the barbecue, Milanes says.

Tony’s Steakhouse is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For information, go to or call 509-853-1010.

Yakima’s favorite calamari

Calamari sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon capers

1 tablespoon pepperoncini

1 tablespoon of minced garlic

4-6 Kalamata olives

2-3 ounces white balsamic vinegar

3-4 ounces of butter

For calamari

1 cup squid tubes

2 ounces of low-fat butter milk

All-purpose flour

For sauce: Place olive oil, capers, pepperoncini, olives and garlic in a medium-size pan over medium heat.

Saute until the garlic browns up a little. Add the white balsamic next, and cook until the vinegar has been reduced by half and you see large bubbles. Remove pan from heat and add the butter, this will prevent the butter from breaking apart. Mix the butter at the end until you have melted it into the ingredients.

For calamari: Pour a cup of the calamari squid into a small bowl, toss in the buttermilk, mix, then toss about 3 cups of flour, mix well, filter out the excess flour, flash fry the calamari for about 20-30 seconds. Mix the calamari sauce in with the fried squid tubes, serve and enjoy.

Roasted garlic mashed potatoes

10-12 medium-size potatoes (Yukon)

2 tablespoons butter

1 roasted whole garlic

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

Heat up potatoes skin on in a large pot, cook until potatoes are soft, and drain out the water. In a medium-size sauce pan, mix in the butter, roasted garlic, heavy whipping cream, salt and pepper on medium heat, stir constantly. Mix the potatoes and your ingredients with a wisk or a mixing bowl.

Steak Diane with fried onions and portabella mushrooms

2 (6-8 oz.) shoulder tender steaks

½ cup pink peppercorns (roasted)

½ cup pink sea salt

Diane sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot

1/3 cup cognac (salignac)

1 tablespoon thyme

½ cup Dijon mustard

½ cup demi-glaze (knorr)

6-8 cups of water

For sauce: Use a medium-size pan, on medium heat, add your olive oil, diced shallot, saute until shallot is golden brown. Add cognac to pan, let that reduce until your’re left with 1/3 of your cognac. Add the Dijon mustard and mix it in with your ingredients. Add water and demi-glaze next. Let simmer and reduce on low to medium heat for roughly 15-20 mins.

For steak: Roast the peppercorns in the oven at 350 degrees for 2-3 minutes, add the sea salt to the peppercorns and grind them together. Use a grinder for best results. Season steak. Cook in oven or barbecue until it reaches your desired doneness.

Fried onions

1 whole onion (sliced)

¼ cup buttermilk

All-purpose flour

Salt and pepper for taste

Slice up your onion about 1/3 of an inch thick. Place in a bowl and add your buttermilk. Mix with your flour, drain the excess flour, deep fry until golden brown, and finally add salt and black pepper for taste.

Portabella mushrooms

2-4 portabella mushrooms (cleaned)

¼ cup olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Minced garlic

Salt and pepper for taste

Clean out your portabella mushrooms, and in a bowl add your olive oil, garlic, and balsamic vinegar, place your portabella mushrooms in the mix, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours for best results. Place mushrooms in a medium-size pan and cook each side for about 2 minutes.

Serve steak topped with onions, mushrooms and Diane sauce.

• Savannah Tranchell can be reached at 509-577-7752 or