- 50g butter
Butter is a dairy product made from separating whole milk or cream into fat and…
- 1 large onion, finely diced
Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…
- 3 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped
This popular herb grows in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, and is a member of the mint…
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- 300ml tomato passata
- 1kg cleaned large squid
From the same family as the octopus and cuttlefish, squid may look jellyish and unappetising but…
- sunflower oil, for frying
Sunflower oil is made from pressing sunflower seeds and extracting the oil. It's usually…
- 125ml brandy
Brandy is a distilled spirit made from virtually any fermented fruit or starchy vegetable.…
- 4 tbsp double cream
- finely chopped flatleaf parsley, to serve
Melt the butter in a casserole dish, then add the onion, thyme and bay leaves with a good grind of black pepper. Gently fry for about 15 mins until the onion is golden and soft. Only at this point stir in the garlic. Turn off the heat and stir in the passata. Leave to stand.
Cut the squid in half lengthways down the cone. Chop each half widthways into 2.5cm/1in ribbons. Cut up the fins and the tentacles to a similar size. Dry off any wetness from the squid with kitchen paper. It must be as dry as possible so it will fry and colour better.
Get a large frying pan and put on a high heat. When the pan is intensely hot, throw in a third of the squid with a small slug of sunflower oil and a generous pinch of salt. Fry hard, stirring occasionally, until well coloured. Tip the squid into the casserole. Repeat with the remaining squid, cooking it in batches twice more, adding more salt and oil with each.
Return the casserole to the heat and add 100ml water. Stir well and bring to a simmer. Add 100ml of the brandy and put the lid on. Simmer very gently for 40 mins, then another 20 mins with the lid slightly off, allowing the juices to reduce a little. When tender, stir in the rest of the brandy and the cream, and serve scattered with parsley.
Squid know-howSquid is one of the most widely available types of seafood as it is found in every ocean and isn’t seasonal. This also makes it one of the cheapest – 1kg costs £5-£6. You can buy it fresh and frozen, and as freezing doesn’t affect the texture it’s just as good. For this recipe you need whole squid or squid tubes, but you could use rings if that is all you can find.