Along with bell peppers, eggplant and turkey, squid is one of nature’s most obvious candidates for stuffing. The tubular, pocket-like shape of the calamari simply cries out for a tasty filling. Squid come in many sizes; the best for this recipe are on the small side, about 4 inches (10 cm) long. This recipe is designed for about 16 squid of this size; of course, the larger the squid, the fewer you will need.
Catalan-Style Stuffed Squid
- 1 lb. (500 g) whole squid
- 6 Tbs. (90 ml) olive oil
- 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 lb. (500 g) ground pork
- 1 hard-boiled large egg, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 Tbs. pine nuts
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 3 tomatoes, peeled and minced (or grated)
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) white wine
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) fish stock or clam juice, if needed
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g) raw blanched almonds
- Leaves from 6 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Crusty bread for serving
1. To clean each squid, pull the head and clinging innards free from the body and discard. Cut the fins, tentacles, and arms from the head and squeeze out the small, hard beak from the mouth at the base of the tentacles. Pull out and discard the transparent quill-like cartilage from the body pouch. Rinse out the body and rub off the mottled violet skin covering it. Finely chop the tentacles, arms, and fins. Set aside.
2. In a heavy fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add half of the chopped onions, the pork and the chopped squid and sauté until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the hard-boiled egg and pine nuts and simmer until any liquid has boiled away and the mixture is nearly dry, about 5 minutes more. Season well with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Using a funnel and the handle of a wooden spoon, stuff the pork mixture into the squid bodies, closing each one with a toothpick. The filling should be well packed into the squid, but not bursting out of the opening.
4. Put the flour in a small bowl and dredge each squid in the flour, shaking off any excess flour (only a light dusting is required). In a wide, heavy flameproof casserole dish with a lid, heat the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat. Add the squid and brown on both sides. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate and set aside.
5. In the same oil (pick out any burned bits before proceeding), sauté the remaining onion over medium-high heat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the vegetables have combined into a sweet-smelling sauce, about 5 minutes more. Pour in the wine and bubble until the alcohol has burned off, about 30 seconds. Season the sauce with a little salt and pepper.
6. Place the squid in the sauce, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer gently for about 10 minutes, shaking the pan from time to time to prevent sticking and adding a little fish stock if needed.
7. Meanwhile, make the topping: In a mortar and pestle, pound together the garlic, almonds and parsley. Alternatively, process in a food processor or blender until finely chopped. Sprinkle the topping over the squid, shaking the pan to incorporate, and simmer gently for 5 minutes more.
8. Bring the squid to the table in the casserole dish and serve with plenty of crusty bread. Serves 4
Find more than 100 recipes for the simple, unassuming and satisfying food of the Spanish countryside in Rustic Spanish, by Paul Richardson.