An Italian-inspired recipe from chef and author Ben Tish, this slow-cooked squid recipe also uses preserved lemons, popular in Italy although most commonly associated with Morocco.
Culinary Director at The Stafford Group, with restaurants including the likes of Norma and hotels such as The Stafford London and Northcote, Ben Tish has also published a number of cookbooks, including his most recent, SICILIA, and Moorish, from which this slow cooked squid recipe is taken from. Published in 2019, the critically-acclaimed book showcases a clutch of dishes that epitomise Mediterranean food culture, divided into chapters based around the way in which Ben Tish likes to cook at home. Light bites and barbecue dishes are joined by brunches and slow-cooked dishes.
All cooked in one pan, this slow-cooked squid recipe features fresh squid with garlic, parsley, bay, chilli, fennel seeds, preserved lemons, and tomato; finished with green olives and served with crusty bread.
“Squids are normally associated with fast cooking such as grilling or frying, this recipe requires the squid to be slow cooked in a bright and sunny tomato and olive sauce until rich and tender. The Moorish influence comes from aromatic fennel seeds and bay and the sour salty tang of preserved lemons- which are as popular in Italy as Morocco- salting and preserving lemons was a method used by the moors during the lemon harvest to ensure lemons were available year round. This southern Italian style preparation is also perfect with cuttlefish and octopus as the base.”
- Casserole or oven-proof saucepan
- 600 g plum vine tomatoes eyed
- 1 onion peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 800 g fresh squid cleaned and cut into chunks
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley chopped
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 125 ml white wine
- 1 red chilli chopped with seeds
- 100 g pitted green olives
- 100 g preserved lemon chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp fennel seeds crushed
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
- Pre-heat an oven to 160C/Gas 3.
- Boil a pan of water and blanche the tomatoes for a minute until the skins peel off. Drain and leave to cool for a few minutes before discarding the skins and roughly chopping the flesh.
- Heat a large casserole or ovenproof pan over a low-medium heat and add a lug of olive oil. Cook the onions and garlic slowly for a few minutes to soften – without colour – and then add the parsley stalks, bay, chilli, fennel seeds, and tomato paste. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring as you go and then add the wine. Reduce by half and then add the chopped tomatoes.
- Bring to a simmer and then stir in the squid and season well with salt and pepper. Place on the lid, transfer to the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours. After one hour add the olives and leave the lid off.
- When the stew is ready, the sauce should be thick and rich and the squid tender, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes before stirring in the preserved lemon and parsley.
- Serve on slices of toasted sobrasada bread or toasted ciabatta grilled with olive oil.