My brother Anthony used to go to the wet market with my late-father every Sunday. It is one of those activities that they really enjoyed doing. And Sunday is the day that dad cooks for all of us while we assist him in the kitchen. So, while the men are busy buying all the ingredients for the week, my two other sisters, my mom and I are sleeping in. And as we wake up and have our breakfast, we also anticipate my dad and brother coming home with something special for us. It could be an egg tart or a dumpling but either way we always look forward to it.
Anthony still goes to the wet market but on a different day and place. Sometimes I go with him but I’ll leave that privilege for him to buy the freshest seafood he could find. And this squid is one of the seafood he bought from his favorite fishmonger.
Squid stew is one of my brother’s favorite dishes. Actually, he likes everything I cook. Isn’t that obvious? I made this many years ago but can’t seem to find the recipe. I’ve looked all over the house, my computer files and in between books but I still couldn’t find it. So, I’m making my own version of this squid stew. There are so many variations of this stew and all of them sound really good but this is my first version. To clean your squid, here’s a video technique from Rouxbe Online Cooking School.
I also love the addition of unpitted olives as they have better flavor. The ones I have are from Santi’s Delicatessen and they’re worth like gold but a few goes a long way. I was also enticed by the chili and garlic marinated green olives and they’re superb on this dish. You can use fresh tomatoes or canned but I used both. Roasted red bell peppers were the last minute addition and as this dish simmers in the oven, the sweetness simply melts and blends with the other ingredients and the result is just heaven. You can cook this dish over a stove stop on a very low heat but I prefer to use the oven for best results.
Mediterranean-Style Squid Stew
Makes 4 servings
1 red bell pepper grapeseed oil
1 large tomato
1 lb squid 1 small onion 2 cloves garlic 6 pcs each black and green olives 1 cup diced tomatoes (in can) 1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 dried bay leaf unrefined sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper parsley (for garnish)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) oven. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath.
To prepare your mise en place, coat the red bell pepper with grapeseed oil and place on a sheet pan. Roast for 20-25 minutes turning halfway until the skin is roasted and the peppers are soft. Transfer to a bowl and cover with a plate or saran wrap.
Lower the heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius).
Remove the core from the tomatoes and make an X pattern at the base. Plunge the tomato in boiling water and blanch for 10 seconds. Remove the tomato with a slotted spoon and cool in an ice bath.
Next, clean and rinse the squid. Cut into ½-inch pieces and set aside. On a separate cutting board, peel and finely chop the onions, emince the garlic and remove the pit from the olives and roughly chop. Then, peel, de-seed and chop the tomatoes. When the bell peppers are cool enough to touch, remove the skin and seeds and cut them into strips.
Gather the diced tomatoes (in can) and the white wine.
To cook the squid stew, heat the olive oil in heavy-bottom pan with lid, followed the onions and sea salt. Cook the onions over low heat until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Then, add the white wine. Raise the heat to medium and reduce the white wine by half. Add the black and green olives, fresh tomatoes, tomatoes (in can) and the roasted bell peppers. Bring the mixture to a low simmer and then add the squid and bay leaf Season with some salt. Cover with lid and transfer to the oven and cook for about 1 to 1-1/2 hours until the squid is very tender.
To serve the squid stew, bring the pan out of the oven and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving dish. Remove the leaves from the parsley, finely chop and sprinkle over the dish. Then, drizzle with additional extra-virgin olive oil to finish. Serve with pasta, whole-grain bread or quinoa.
I added 1/4 cup of water. I thought the mixture was too thick but after braising, I felt there was too much liquid. So, no need to add water.
Instead of bay leaf, you can substitute it with thyme or other herbs.
I also added some orange zest along with the chopped parsley before serving it.