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 

You’ll need

  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Add fennel fronds, fennel seeds, anchovy, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Add pine nuts, lemon zest, breadcrumbs, pecorino and reserved spinach. Correct seasoning at this stage.
  5. Heat oven to 190°C. Using either your hands or a teaspoon, place filling in each squid. Do not overstuff the squid!
  6. Place the squid in a single layer in a baking dish. Drizzle both sides with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  7. 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.

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