Squid isn’t often seen on British menus in any other form than deep fried or salt and peppered, so I’m going to show you how to serve it in my favourite way – stuffed.
Stuffed squid are soft, delicious and packed with flavour.
Throughout the Mediterranean there are countless recipes for squid and stuffed squid in particular, but this one is dear to me as it’s a recipe from my hometown.
How to prepare your squid
Choosing, cleaning and preparing squid might not be the most straight forward thing but we are going to talk you through it and hopefully you will give it a try. However if you don’t want to bother, your fishmonger will be more than happy to do it for you.
Step #1: First things first you need some fresh squid so speak to your fishmonger and get some that are bright eyed, pinkish, non-fishy smelling, and make sure their skin and flesh are nice and fresh looking.
Step #2: Give them a good rinse.
Step #3: Pull out the ‘pinkish’ skin that covers the squid, exposing the white flesh. Make sure not to pierce the squid’s body.
Step #4: Remove the fins and the head and reserve. The squid’s insides will come attached to the head so strip it off and throw it away. If any remain inside the squid’s hood, pull them out and discard.
Step #5: Now turn your attention to the squid head. Remove all the hard, cartilage bits alongside with the mouth (that will be in the centre of the tentacles) and the eyes.
Step #6: Congratulations you are done, you should now have a squid hood, 2 fins and a head.
Stuffed Squid Portuguese Style
4 whole clean squid; make sure that the body of the squid measures between 15 and 20 cm
1 big ripe tomato
1 Tbsp of tomato paste
1 big clove of garlic
1 small onion
1 small bunch of parsley
30g of pancetta
20g of red pepper
20g of green pepper
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground black pepper
Virgin olive oil
Separate your squid’s body from the head and fins, place the bodies to one side and finely chop the heads and fins. Place these in a bowl big enough for the whole mixture to fit in.
Finely chop the tomato, onion, peppers, pancetta, garlic and parsley and add it to the bowl. Add the tomato paste, the ground clove, the broken bay, a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix well.
Tip #1: The trick for this dish is to chop everything as finely as you can, so take your time here.
Now comes the fun part. Fill your squid’s body with the help of a small spoon. Compact the mixture down the body and close the opening with a toothpick. If you have any of the mixture left over, it can be added to the dish later.
Tip #2: Be a bit careful when compacting the squid as you don’t want to rip the body or press it so hard that it will burst in the pan.
Tip #3: Cut the ends of the toothpick so they won’t tear the other squid bodies in the pan.
Get a wide pan that won’t stick and cover the bottom with virgin olive oil so it is about 1 cm high, place it over a low heat. Carefully place the squid inside and add enough olive oil so it comes halfway up the squid. Place a lid on the pan and cook for about 1 hour turning them every 10 minutes.
After 45 minutes your squid should be looking nice and golden brown. If you have any of your mixture left add it to the pan and give it a light mix. Leave the lid off and cook for the remaining 15 minutes.
Once the sauce is golden and the squid smells delicious turn off the heat. Serve your squid on top of white rice or with chips.