Grilled Squid with Tomato and Pepper Sauce

Just after they have been caught, squid are amongst the most beautiful of all sea creatures (firm with shimmering iridescent colours), but within minutes they take on the familiar white appearance seen on the fishmonger's slab. In this recipe the squid are served with a piquant tomato sauce, a traditional Catalan recipe. Squid freeze well - they can even be tenderised by the process. Squid are easy to prepare but fishmongers will do it for you.
Calories per serving: 340, Preparation time : 45 minutes, Cooking time : 40 minutes


1 1/2 lb (700g) baby squid
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons white wine

for the sauce

1 red chilli
3 sweet red peppers
2 oz (50 g) blanched almonds
8 oz (225 g) ripe tomatoes
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sprigs of fresh basil or thyme for garnish


1. To make the sauce, preheat the grill on a medium-high setting. Slice open and de-seed the red chilli. Put it on a baking tray with the 3 sweet peppers, almonds and unpeeled tomatoes and garlic. Sprinkle all the vegetables with 1 tablespoon of oil and put under the grill. Watch them carefully, removing the almonds after 5 minutes, or as soon as they start to turn brown. The garlic and tomatoes should be grilled for 10-15 minutes until they have softened. Turn the peppers occasionally and grill for about 25 minutes until their skins are black and blistered.

2. Meanwhile, prepare the squid. Pull the head and the innards attached to it away from the body in a gentle but firm motion. Cut away the tentacles from the head and then remove the hard beak from the centre of the tentacles. Remove the transparent pen that emerges from the body and separate the fins. Pull off the purplish skin covering the body and the fins. Rinse the body, fins and tentacles.

3. Grind the almonds in a pestle and mortar or in a food processor. Then peel the peppers, tomatoes and garlic. De-seed the peppers and chop the chilli, tomatoes and the peppers finely. Preheat the grill. Slice the squid on one side so you can spread them out flat over a baking tray and sprinkle them with 2 tablespoons of oil and the white wine.

4. Place them about 3in (75mm) under the grill and heat for 10 minutes, until they have turned golden and opened. Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a pan, stirring in the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and the vinegar. Season to taste. Warm the sauce over a gentle heat. As soon as the squid are ready, garnish with the herbs and serve.

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