Photo by Tara Stevens
I confess to finding squid and octopus quite difficult to cook and get right. After years in Spain, where tender rings of calamari and crunchy chipirones (baby cuttlefish) are always done to perfection, I have become lazy about doing it and somewhat intimidated. My attempts always seem to be on the tough side, no matter how quick I cook it. But, this ultra simple recipe is foolproof and makes a delicious tapa, washed down with a glass of cold white wine—something basic like Barbadillo, which hails from near Cádiz and is made from the sherry grape, Palomino Fina. I cook it frequently at my mother’s summer getaway in Nerja, near Málaga, and it has yet to let me down, especially as you can prepare it well in advance. It keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
INGREDIENTS (serves 6 as a tapa)
- 2 medium-sized squid, cleaned and cut into rings, tentacles roughly chopped
- 6 large tomatoes, sliced
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper or dried chilli powder
- 3 glasses red wine
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp sherry vinegar (to taste)
- 3 glasses water
- Salt, pepper and a sprig of rosemary
1. Place all the ingredients in a pot, except for the rosemary and water.
2. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer for about 30 minutes.
3. Keep an eye on it, adding water when it starts to look dry.
4. Cook for a further 30 minutes, or until the squid is very tender and the liquid has thickened, adding the rosemary sprig 5-10 minutes before the end (if you add it earlier the spiny leaves fall into the mix and are unpleasant, you just want the hint of earthiness it gives).
5. Remove the rosemary sprig and remove the pot from the heat.
6. Serve at room temperature with plenty of crusty bread for mopping up the juices, or hot as a main course with rice or pasta.
What to watch out for this month at the market: Avocados, tomatoes, octopus (pulpo) and game.
Tara Stevens is a food writer and cook who splits her time between Barcelona and her little cooking school in the Fez Medina. Passionate about Spanish and Moroccan cuisine, she takes traditional recipes and gives them a modern makeover using local and seasonal ingredients. Follow Tara on Instagram @courtyardkitchenfez and Twitter @taralstevens.