Everyone’s favourite seafood seems to be squid, especially eaten fresh somewhere hot. I’m also a big fan of cuttlefish, which is much less popular in the UK despite the fact it costs half as much but is equally delicious.
Sadly, most British cuttlefish is exported to countries that appreciate it more than we do.
You can replace squid with cuttlefish in any recipe and both are extremely adaptable, though deep-fried, battered squid is the most popular way of consuming this cephalopod.
As with all seafood, always try to buy squid fresh, as some of that processed frozen stuff ends up tasteless and chewy. Or buy fresh squid and cuttlefish and freeze it yourself, but be sure not to leave it in the freezer too long to avoid ruining it.
1 | Ink pasta with squid and samphire
- 4 servings of ink pasta
- 100ml olive oil
- 200g cleaned weight of squid with the tentacles removed and reserved
- 1tsp chilli flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 100–120g samphire, cleaned
The juice of a lemon
1 | Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then drain.
2 | While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a pan, lightly shred the squid, season it and gently cook on a low heat with the chilli and samphire for a couple of minutes, stirring as it’s cooking.
3 | Remove from the heat, toss the squid mixture with the pasta, re-season if necessary and squeeze the lemon juice over everything to taste. Serve immediately.
2 | Salt and Pepper Cuttlefish
This is a more sophisticated version of deep fried calamari and I’d rather eat this than the flabby stuff any time. Using cuttlefish or squid, it’s a fantastic snack to go with cocktails and also works just as well for a dinner party.
- Vegetable or corn oil for deep-frying
- 600g cleaned cuttlefish, including tentacles
- Table salt
- 200g Chinese self-raising flour
- 1tbsp coarsely ground or mignonette black pepper
- Iced water to mix
- 1tbsp flaky sea salt
- 1–2 chillies, sliced thinly on the angle
1 | Pre-heat 8cm of oil to 160-180ºC in a thick-bottomed saucepan or electric deep-fat fryer.
2 | Cut the cuttlefish into 4-5cm by 1/2cm strips and separate the tentacles, then dry well on kitchen paper.
3 | With the flour in a mixing bowl, whisk in enough iced water to make a smooth batter, then season with some of the table salt and add the cracked pepper. Test a piece of cuttlefish by dipping it in the batter and frying till crisp. If the batter is too thick or thin, adjust accordingly with more water or flour and add more salt to taste. Fry the cuttlefish in smallish batches depending on how many you’re cooking for and keep the pieces warm until it’s all cooked.
4 | When all the cuttlefish is fried, toss it in the rest of the sea salt and sliced chillies and serve with a spicy dipping sauce.