I love cuttlefish, or squid. I first ate it while traveling on La Gomera, one of the Canary Islands: calamari à la plancha. And since then, of course, I also love to make it at home. I like to combine the bright white squid with a red tomato sauce. And yes, this is no coincidence. These refer to my favorite Antwerp football colors: cuttlefish in red and white. But did you know that the best squid (or sepia, cuttlefish) comes from the North Sea? Read more about this later in this article.
How to make cuttlefish in red and white?
A cuttlefish (or squid) and a can of tomato cubes are the main ingredients for this squid in red and white. We season it with, among other things, capers, onion, garlic, a chili pepper, and tasty herbs.
Cleaning the vegetables
Remove the skin from the shallot and garlic. Then cut both finely.
Remove the stem from the chili pepper and halve it lengthwise. Remove the seeds and cut it into small pieces.
Finally, clean the spring onion and remove the roots. Then cut the white and green parts separately.
Cleaning and frying the cuttlefish
If you’ve never done it before, cleaning the cuttlefish seems like a big job. But it’s really not a big issue.
First, we rinse the cuttlefish under cold water and then pat it dry. You can easily cut off the tentacles and arms. Then we carefully remove the intestines and the cuttlebone from the body. But be careful not to push open the ink sac. Because that can cause a real mess. If the skin hasn’t already been removed by the merchant, remove it as well.
Now we have the edible part of the squid left. Remove the two wings so that we have three pieces of squid plus tentacles and arms. Rinse them under water again and pat them dry.
Now we’re going to diagonally cut the meat of the squid. Don’t cut it through! This allows the seasoning to penetrate the squid well, and creates a nice pattern when frying. Then we season the squid with olive oil, pepper, and salt.
Frying the cuttlefish
Now we heat a pan over high heat and sear the squid briefly on both sides. We don’t need oil because we’ve already generously coated the squid with oil. The tentacles and arms can be removed after half a minute. They’re done quickly. The middle part can be turned over after about one minute, and the wings take two minutes. Please observe that these times are a bit dependent on the size of your squid. But make sure not to overdo them, as they might taste like rubber.
Then remove the squid from the pan and set it aside. Now heat some oil again in a pan and fry about one quarter of the shallot, garlic, and chili pepper, along with the white of the spring onion. Deglaze with a tablespoon of white wine and the juice of the lemon.
Making the tomato sauce
Heat some oil in a small pan and briefly fry three-quarters of the vegetables (garlic, shallot, chili pepper).
Deglaze with two tablespoons of white wine and let it simmer briefly.
Then add the tomato cubes, capers and the tentacles. Bring this to a boil over medium-high heat.
Serving cuttlefish in red and white
Now arrange the white squid on plates and dress it in the red tomato sauce. Then sprinkle the squid with the vegetables you fried separately. Finish the dish with some green pieces of spring onion.
You can best enjoy this delicious squid in red and white with a piece of baguette and a lovely glass of white wine. The bottle is already open anyway.
This red and white squid was made with cuttlefish, also known as sepia. Sepia is not coincidentally also the name of the dye extracted from this squid.
What you might not expect is that among the main habitats of the cuttlefish are the North Sea and "Oosterschelde". Perhaps you are familiar with the so-called sea foam that you sometimes find on our beaches. This is actually the cuttlebone of the cuttlefish, which regulates buoyancy. Due to the colder water, the cuttlefish from the North Sea is also slightly greasier than its counterparts from warmer waters. And therefore also slightly tastier.
Cuttlefish are nocturnal animals that live on the seabed. There they catch crabs, shrimp, and young fish with their arms and tentacles.
Learn more about the different types of squid and how to clean them in the following articles:
- Cuttlefish - Wikipedia.
- How to clean and prepare cuttlefish - without bursting the ink sack (Youtube - Get fishing).
- What is the difference between octopus, squid and cuttlefish? (mmmediterranean)
The sea has so much to offer. I really advice to put seafood on the menu regularly. And here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Fishballs with cilantro.
- in Belgian bear steamed mussels.
- Fish casserole with tomato-apple sauce.
- Delicious seafood fricassée.
- Fiskasúpa - Icelandic fish soup.
If you speak Dutch, you can find the Dutch version of this recipe on gerechtenweb.blog.