2 May 2011

Squid with peas and mint

Squid's have been christened just about correctly. The single rubbery syllable, squirting muscle and watery propulsion: they must really dart about in the sea. Above the water they look rather alien - the thick sheath of muscle, the plasticy translucent mantle and the horrible mucus in the body cavity.

Squid are notoriously rubbery when cooked of course, and to combat that you must either cook very briefly (a quick dip, floured, into a deep-fat fryer for instance) or at some length. This recipe goes down the second route. It's a simple combination of squid with fish-favourites white wine and fennel, plus peas and mint. It's in the second Moro book (billed as cuttlefish with broad beans) and is well worth a go. As ever I've tweaked the version to my taste - fiddle at will with the basics below.

  • squid - a couple per person as a main
  • a medium glass of white wine and a big one of water
  • paprika, fennel seeds, bay leaves
  • onion and garlic
  • peas or broad beans
  • mint

Fry one sliced small onion in olive oil per squid. Add sliced garlic.

After ten or fifteen minutes add a few bay leaves and a teaspoon of fennel seeds. Fry for a few more minutes. Add a teaspoon of paprika. Add the wine and water to make up a sauce. Add the squid or cuttlefish chopped into small pieces. Keep the crowns of tentacles complete unless the beasts are monsters. They will shrink when cooked.

The muscle fibres will contract and tighten when exposed to heat. They need to be cooked enough to start breaking down. This may well take around fifty minutes on a low, puttering heat. Keep an eye on things and stir from time to time.

 more tentacle vicar?

When the squid tastes done add the peas or beans and cook till done. Good time to draw for the frozen veg here. Also added some ripped up mint - as much as you see fit. I found I needed more than I first thought. I gave it a minute on the heat to wilt the herb down pleasantly.

Wow. The sauce itself almost outshines the squid. It's perfectly balanced and made to be mopped up with a fat slice of bread grilled and rubbed with a cut garlic clove. This sauce would also be excellent with a fried piece of white fish or how about some asparagus, peppers and artichokes for a veg version?


  1. I love squid - so versatile, cheap and healthy. This sounds like a winner.

  2. This looks really tasty. I've only every cooked squid quickly so this would be a great recipe to try it slow cooked.

  3. Cheers.

    Lizzie, yeah it's a wonderful thing but not something I often buy.

    Corina, I'd definitely give it a go - once it's on the hob you can more or less forget about it apart from a few gentle stirs and give it plenty of time to soften. The soft squid has a slightly different texture too which is nice - almost creamy.