Although this delicious braise is a satisfying main dish, it can also be served in smaller portions as a first course for a Mediterranean-inspired supper. Accompany it with grilled bread rubbed with a cut garlic clove for dipping into the fragrant sauce. If you don’t have a slow cooker with a flameproof insert, do the first step in a sauté pan, then transfer the contents of the pan to your slow cooker after boiling the crushed tomatoes.
Braised Squid with Tomatoes and Fennel
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and minced
- 1 Tbs. minced garlic
- 3 Tbs. all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbs. tomato paste
- 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) fruity white wine such as Pinot Grigio
- 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) bottled clam juice
- 1 can (14 oz./440 g) whole plum tomatoes with juice
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 lb. (1 kg) cleaned squid, bodies and tentacles cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
- 1/4 cup (1/3 oz./10 g) finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Put the flameproof insert of a slow cooker on the stove top over medium-high heat, then add the oil and warm until hot. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the flour and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the flour is fully incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the wine and simmer, stirring occasionally, until evaporated, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the clam juice, tomatoes and their juice, 1 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper and bring to a boil. Crush the tomatoes with a potato masher, then boil for 2 minutes.
2.Transfer the insert to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 3 hours. The fennel should be tender and the mixture should be aromatic. Uncover, add the squid and parsley, and stir to mix well. Re-cover and continue to cook on low for 1 hour. The squid should be very tender.
3. Spoon into shallow individual bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Learn to make the most of your slow cooker with this and other inspiring recipes in our Quick Slow Cooking, by Kim Laidlaw.