The rule of thumb when cooking squid is either really fast, or really slow. Most people lean towards fast – fried calamari is on thousands of menus all over the country because you can get a great product really quickly. But the depth of flavour and tender texture you can achieve when you slowly simmer squid is totally worth the investment of your time.

A version of this dish hits my table every month or so, in fact pork and squid top my list of surf and turf combinations every time. If you’re in a bit of a hurry you can get a great final product by just simmering rings of squid in a sausage tomato sauce and serving it over pasta. But if you’re looking to impress, then give these stuffed squid a try – it’s a great presentation to hit your table. This polenta is made with fine cornmeal, but if you look around you can find a quick cooking polenta that is just as good.

Serves 4


Stuffed Squid

Ingredients:

2 large or 4 smaller whole squid, cleaned

4 sausages (chorizo, Italian, etc.)

1 onion, finely chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

¼ cup chopped parsley

one 28 ounce can of whole tomatoes

2 cups stock (or water, or beer)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Method:

1. For the squid: Separate the wings and head from the bodies of the squid, then rinse the body under cold water. Remove the sausage from the casing and stuff the squid ⅔ full with sausage, then seal with a skewer. Repeat with remaining sausage and squid, then pierce each stuffed squid a couple of times with a skewer. This will help them retain their shape while they simmer.

2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, cook the remaining crumbled sausage until browned. Add onion, garlic and chopped parsley and cook stirring often for five minutes, or until the onion has softened.

3. Add the sliced squid wings and heads, followed by tomatoes and 2 additional cups of liquid. Bring to a simmer and add stuffed squid, turn heat to medium and cover. Cook for 30 minutes, then flip each squid and cook covered for another 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to simmer for an additional 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Polenta

Ingredients:

5 cups water

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup fine cornmeal

4 Tbsp butter

Chopped parsley, to garnish

Method:

1. For the polenta: Bring water to a boil over high heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the cornmeal while whisking constantly to get rid of any lumps. Turn heat to medium and continue to cook whisking constantly until polenta has thickened, about 15 minutes. Add butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.