This dish started with me discovering first the cuttlefish and then the recipe.
I have had the Greek-style cuttlefish before where it is cooked in a tomato-based sauce, but I wanted some “clean” and not smothered in sauce. I discovered and adjusted this recipe by David Tanis published in the New York Times
- 300 g spinach, blanched and chopped
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 large or 2 medium fennel bulbs, finely diced
- fennel fronds from the bulbs, chopped (save a few fronds for garnish)
- 2 tps ground fennel seeds
- 4 anchovy fillets in oil, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- pinch of red pepper flakes (I used Aleppo pepper)
- ¼ cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- zests of 1 lemon
- ¾ cup homemade dry bread crumbs
- ¼ cup grated pecorino cheese
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 800g cleaned cuttlefish
- 2 Tbs chopped parsley, for garnish
- Lemon wedges, for serving
- To make the filling, blanch the spinach in boiling water for 1 minute, drain and cool under cold running water. Squeeze spinach completely dry and chop finely.
- Add 3 Tbs olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and fennel and cook until softened, season with salt and pepper.
- Add fennel fronds, fennel seeds, anchovy, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add pine nuts, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, pecorino and reserved spinach. Correct seasoning at this stage.
- Heat oven to 190°C. Using either your hands or a teaspoon, place filling in each squid. Do not overstuff the squid!
- Place the squid in a single layer in a baking dish. Drizzle both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast uncovered for 15-20 minutes until the squid bodies are puffed and lightly golden. Garnish with fennel fronds and parsley and serve with lemon wedges.
I find it easier to place the spinach in a clean dishcloth and squeezing all the excess water out. Use only white bread for the breadcrumbs. I used about a 12cm slice from a baguette which a pulsed into crumbs. Stop the filling process about 1cm from the end and close with a toothpick. Remember to remove the toothpick before serving! If you are not fuzzed about pretty pictures, use the same lemon that you have zested.