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Cuttlefish in a Rich Squid Ink Sauce

Brought to you from the Good Food and Wine Festival 2012


  • 1kg uncleaned cuttlefish

  • 150ml Fish stock

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 200g skinned chopped tomatoes, fresh or from a can

  • 2 fresh bay leaves

  • 150ml red wine

  • 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1.

    To prepare the cuttlefish, first cut off the tentacles just in front of the eyes.

  • 2.

    Remove the beak-like mouth from the centre of the tentacles and throw it away, then pull the skin off the tentacles and set them to one side.

  • 3.

    Cut the head sections from the body and discard, then pull off the fins and pull the skin off these.

  • 4.

    Cut the body sections open from the top to bottom along the dark-coloured back and remove and discard the cuttlebones.

  • 5.

    Remove the entrails and locate the ink pouches, which are small pearly white pouches, in amongst them.

  • 6.

    Carefully remove them without bursting them and set to one side. Discard the rest and then wash out the bodies well and pull off the skin.

  • 7.

    Leave the tentacles whole and cut the bodies and wings across into strips 1.5–2cm wide.

  • 8.

    Drop the reserved ink sacs into the fish stock, carefully slit them open with a small knife and rinse them out in the stock to remove as much of the ink as you can. Remove the little sacs and discard.

  • 9.

    Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, add half the prepared cuttlefish and some seasoning and sauté for 1 minute until lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon, set aside and repeat with the remainder.

  • 10.

    Add the onion and garlic and leave to cook gently, stirring now and then, for 5 minutes until soft but not browned.

  • 11.

    Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, wine, inky stock and some seasoning and bring to a gentle simmer.

  • 12.

    Add ½ teaspoon of salt and the cuttlefish, part cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Then uncover the pan, increase the heat slightly and leave to simmer a little more vigorously until the sauce has reduced and thickened and the cuttlefish is tender.

  • 13.

    Adjust the seasoning to taste, sprinkle with the parsley and serve.

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