Cuttlefish belong to the squid and octopus family and they look like a larger squid with a wider, bigger body, longer wings than squid and shorter tentacles. You could use large squid for this recipe but cuttlefish work better as the tentacle is thicker and therefore holds up better to heat. Here in Toronto, fresh and frozen cuttlefish can be found at ethnic and Asian markets.
Cuttlefish make for a filling, seafood based dish – ideal for those observing Lent or just for the joy of eating seafood and reducing the amount of red meat in your diet. Squid and cuttlefish either have to be cooked fast and at a high heat or braised – no in between.
Here, I am taking a two-part approach – first braise the cuttlefish until tender then adding the tomato caper topping and baking until crisp. You get the tender cuttlefish (could slice it with a butter knife) and each mouthful gets the delicious tomato-caper topping with some crisp breadcrumb.
Braised Cuttlefish with Tomatoes & Capers
4 medium-sized cuttlefish or equal sized squid, innards removed and rinsed
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. of tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup hot stock (vegetable or seafood)
Tomato Caper Sauce
4-5 Tesoro or plum tomatoes
3-4 cloves of garlic
2 Tbsp. of capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh parsley
2 tsp. dried Greek oregano
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 cup cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
extra-virgin olive oil for finishing
- Drizzle your cuttlefish well with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a deep baking dish that just fits the cuttlefish. Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
- Add the onions, bay leaf, tomato paste, wine and stock in the baking dish, season with salt and pepper and place the cuttlefish in the liquid (tubes and tentacles).
- Cover with foil and place in your preheated oven for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, In a food processor, add the tomatoes, parsley, oregano, garlic, capers and wine and pulse until the mixture is blended but some pieces of tomato remain. Allow the mixture to marry for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, take the cuttlefish out of the oven and increase the heat to 400F. Uncover and spoon the tomato caper mixture on each cuttlefish, top with breadcrumbs and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until breadcrumb topping is golden. Remove from the oven, serve with roast potatoes and lots of good homemade bread. Serve with Agyros Atlantis Red.
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