Despite having become a classic recipe over the years, this is still a bit of an unusual one. Mainly because a couple of anomalies that make it the interesting recipe that it is. One is the mixing of meat and seafood. The other is the unlikely blend of Catalan and Basque cuisines.
The combination of both meat and seafood within one single recipe has been a traditional practice in Catalonia for a very long time. Catalans call it ‘mar i muntanya‘ (sea and mountain) and it’s nothing else than the local version of a ‘surf n’ turf’. If you’re interested in learning more about this type of recipes, you can do it here.
The second peculiarity is the blend of what we can consider a very Catalan way of cooking with one of the most quintessential Basque preparations, the Vizcaina sauce. How this early example of ‘fusion’ cuisine happened we’re not sure. But there’s something beautifully epic about the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, both meeting in the same cooking pot to create something extraordinary.
The outcome is what follows, a rich and consistent meal with plenty of subtle flavours and aromas that result from such particular combinations.
It isn’t the standard 15 minutes meal. This stuffed squid recipe takes some time and investment. But there is no question that the joy and satisfaction you’ll get from this dish will be directly proportional to the effort and patience you put in.
Stuffed squid with Vizcaina sauce
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours
Passive time: -
Cooking the Vizcaina sauce:
- Put the ñoras in a bowl with hot water for at least 30 minutes so that they hydrate and become soft.
- Chop the onion, the garlic, the leek and the carrot. Heat a pot with the olive oil and cook the vegetables under a low temperature for 40 minutes until very soft.
- Pour the brandy and the wine. Add the bits of bread and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Take the ñoras out of the bowl, drain them and get the pulp with the help of a table knife.
- Add the ñoras pulp and the tomato into the pot. In with the fish stock. Cook for another 50 minutes under a low temperature. Season to taste.
- Puree everything with the help of a food processor (or a hand blender) and strain the puree to obtain a thick but fine sauce. Keep warm.
Cooking the squid:
- Dice the garlic, the onion and the green pepper. The smaller and more uniform the dices, the better. Cook in a pot with olive oil for around 15 minutes until soft.
- Separate the squid tentacles from the body. Chop them very finely and add them to the cooking pot together with the crumbled butifarra and the diced iberico ham. Cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the bread and pour the wine. Let it cook until the alcohol evaporates.
- Chop the boiled eggs and add them in.
- Then pour the water and simmer until all the liquid reduces completely. You should end with a moisturized paste.
- Stuff the squids with the paste. You can use cocktail sticks to close them and avoid the stuffing to leak whilst they cook.
- Seal the squids in a very hot pan with some drops of olive oil. Then cook the squids in the Vizcaina sauce for 20 minutes. Plate and serve.
You can plate the squids directly with the sauce or you can also cut them in two and plate them over a shallow dish with some sauce in the bottom.