There are two ways to cook fresh squid - for a very short time or long and slow. This recipe opts to go the latter route, delivering deep flavours and extremely tender squid. Frozen peas make everything easier here, but by all means use fresh podded peas if you have access to some. Podded, peeled broad beans are also a delicious alternative. Spoon a little tapenade on top of each serve, if you like.
- large pinch of saffron threads
- 2 tbsp hot water
- 1.5 kg medium fresh squid
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 sprigs thyme
- 3 stalks of celery, trimmed and finely sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 6 anchovies, chopped
- 125 ml (½ cup) dry white wine
- 500 ml (2 cups) chicken or fish stock
- 1½ tbsp white wine vinegar
- 310 g (2 cups) frozen peas
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Sprinkle the saffron over the hot water in a small bowl and stand for 30 minutes to infuse.
Meanwhile, clean the squid, reserving the tentacles. Rinse well, removing the skin, then cut the tubes into 1.5 cm thick rings.
Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over medium heat, add the onion, thyme, celery, garlic and anchovies and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the wine, bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes or until nearly completely reduced. Add the saffron and its liquid, stock and vinegar and bring to a simmer then add the squid. Bring the liquid back to a simmer, lower the heat to low then cook squid, covered, for 1 hour or until very tender. Add the peas, cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until peas are tender. Season well with salt and pepper then divide among shallow bowls and serve immediately.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel.