Squid stuffed with breadcrumbs, dried fruits, pine nuts, capers and fennel

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This is a typical Italian coastal dish with the breadcrumbs adding substance and soaking up the briny squid juices. The stuffing is packed with intense, punchy flavours that sing of the Mediterranean and more exotic climes that whisk you off on holiday. Use fresh squid if you can find it for this recipe as the texture is better, although a good quality frozen squid will do nicely.

First published in 2020





It’s important that the inside of the squid is nice and clean, so double check this first. Slice about 1cm off the bottom of each squid tube to make a nice, neat edge. Place the squids and tentacles on a clean cloth on a tray and place in the fridge until ready to stuff. It is important they are dry before roasting so it isn’t necessary to cover them – the air in the fridge will help them to dry out
  • 4 squid, weighing approx. 200g each, cleaned and heads removed but tentacles reserved (ask your fishmonger)
To make the stuffing, heat a medium saucepan over a medium heat and add a good amount of olive oil⁠ –⁠ about 1cm deep. When hot, fry the breadcrumbs, stirring as you go, until golden brown
  • olive oil, for frying
  • 100g of fresh breadcrumbs
Remove the pan from the heat, then stir in the drained raisins, capers and brine, half the lemon juice and pine nuts. Season generously with salt and pepper
Finally, stir in most of the fennel (or dill), reserving a little to finish the dish. The stuffing should be not too dry and be able to mould together – if it seems too dry add a splash of water
To stuff the squids, simply spoon the stuffing mixture into the cavities, ensuring to press in as you go. Fill each cavity until they're about three-quarters full. Secure each squid pocket with a toothpick⁠ –⁠ this is important otherwise the stuffing will all squeeze out as the breadcrumbs expand as they cook. Be sure to reserve a little stuffing to scatter over the dish at the end
Heat a large sauté pan over a medium heat and add a good glug of olive oil. When hot, add the squid tubes and cook for 5 minutes on one side until golden brown and caramelised. Turn the squid over, add the tentacles to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes until cooked through and golden brown
Add the butter to the pan and cook until foaming and lightly browned. Baste the squids with the butter then add some seasoning, the remaining lemon juice and the remaining fennel tops (plus any leftover stuffing)
Remove the pan from the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes. Serve the squids with the buttery juices spooned over the top

Chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Ben Tish has a stellar track record for creating dishes that, quite simply, everyone wants to eat. After years of channelling his love of Mediterranean food he's now chef director across Cubitt House's various pubs and restaurants, proving just how versatile his talents are.

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