Heritage squid
  |  First Published: October 2012

The first time I tasted squid was in an Italian restaurant back in the late 60s – it was absolutely delicious.

Back then it was near impossible to find fresh squid in the shops, and most were sold out within half an hour to bait fishers. Only a small number of people, mainly Mediterranean and Asian, at the time were realising its eating potential.

With this in mind, I salute the squid with recipes of a Mediterranean and Asian influences.

Mediterranean Squid

This recipe has the classic flavours of the Mediterranean - garlic, wine, tomato and parmesan.


500g cleaned squid (rings, strips and tentacles)

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, finely grated

3 tbsp tomato puree (passata)

1 cup dry white wine

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

3 tbsp grated parmesan

3 tbsp fresh breadcrumbs


1. In a glass bowl, mix together the olive oil and garlic. Add the squid pieces to the bowl and allow to marinade for about half an hour in the fridge.

2. Heat a heavy-based frypan over a high heat. Add the squid mixture to the pan and stir fry for a minute or so. Add the tomato puree, wine and parsley to the pan, stir well and continue to cook for a minute.

3. Serve family buffet style by spooning the squid onto a serving platter and scattering the parmesan and breadcrumbs generously over the top. The warmth from the cooked squid will melt the parmesan slightly.

Chinese Braised Squid

750g cleaned squid, rings and tentacles

2 tbsp cooking oil

1 onion, peeled and cut into wedges

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

4 green shallots, sliced in 2cm slices

1 tsp grated ginger

1/4 cup Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry)

2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (or dry sherry)

1 tbsp cornflour

1 tsp sugar (or honey)

1/2 cup fish stock (or vegetable stock)

4 tsp Lee Kum Kee soy sauce

3 tbsp Lee Kum Kee hoisin sauce


1. Heat one tablespoon of the cooking oil in a heavy-based frypan over a medium heat. Add the squid to the pan and stir fry for a couple of minutes (or until the squid turns opaque white). Remove the squid from the pan and place to one side. Leave the juices in the pan.

2. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and heat over a medium/low heat. Add the onion, garlic and shallots to the pan and sauté until the onion has softened, do not brown. Add the ginger and two tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine.

3. Cover the pan and slowly cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. While the onion mixture is cooking, prepare the thickening/flavour mixture. In a medium-sized glass bowl, mix the cornflour and sugar (or honey) with a little of the stock until the cornflour is dissolved and the liquid is smooth Gradually stir in the remaining stock, 1/4 cup of Chinese cooking wine, soy sauce and the hoisin sauce.

5. Pour this mixture over the onion/shallot mixture in the pan. Cook the contents of the pan, stirring constantly, until the mixture is simmering and has thickened slightly.

6. Return the squid to the pan and heat through. You may need to baste the squid with the sauce occasionally during this time.

7. Serve the squid in Chinese Sauce over a bowl of Chinese style steamed rice.

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