Baby squid, pickled celery, ink sauce

Baby squid, pickled celery, ink sauce

By
From
Finding Fire
Serves
4

Baby (loligo) squid is all too often used for bait rather than eating. It is typically line caught on a jigger, and has a beautiful balance of flavour and texture that is often lacking in larger species.

When cooking baby squid, it is important to keep the skin intact. It is covered in chromatophores, which give squid the ability to change colour and adapt to its environment. As well as protecting the squid from predators, this pigmented layer protects the delicate protein from the intense heat of the embers, retaining the squid’s intrinsic flavour as it caramelises on the grill to reveal its rich reddish hue. In this dish, the buttermilk dressing adds a fresh acidity to the sweet crunch of the celery.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
8 medium baby (loligo) squid
1 head celery, with leaves
20g sea salt, plus extra to season
50ml fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil, such as arbequina or koroneiki
100g fresh green almonds, peeled and halved

For the squid ink sauce

Quantity Ingredient
100g raw almonds
1/2 slice grilled sourdough bread
100ml Tomato water
15g squid ink
1/2 garlic clove, blanched until soft
2 teaspoons cava vinegar
25ml fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil, such as arbequina or koroneiki
sea salt

For the buttermilk dressing

Quantity Ingredient
100ml Buttermilk
1/2 garlic clove, blanched and minced
zest of 1/2 lemon
25ml fruity, mild extra-virgin olive oil, such as arbequina or koroneiki

Method

  1. 1. Prepare your embers and arrange a grill cooling rack directly over the top.
  2. 2. Clean the squid, being careful not to tear the skin. Remove the ink sac, cartilage, eyes and beak. Rinse the body and tentacles, and reserve.
  3. 3. Prepare the celery salt. Remove the leaves from the celery, reserving 16 leaves to serve. Chop the remaining leaves in a food processor with the sea salt until fine. Spread evenly on a tray and leave to dry for 40 minutes. Once dry, grind in a mortar and pestle to an even consistency.
  4. 4. Peel the celery stalks to form long, thin strips. Place in a bowl of ice water to curl and crisp.
  5. 5. Prepare the squid ink sauce. Blend all the ingredients to a smooth cream using a hand blender. Pass through a fine-mesh sieve, season with sea salt to taste, and reserve.
  6. 6. Prepare the buttermilk dressing. Combine 50 ml (1¾ floz) of the buttermilk with the garlic and lemon zest in a bowl. Whisk in the olive oil.
  7. 7. Remove the celery strips from the ice water, toss them with the buttermilk dressing and season with the celery salt.
  8. 8. Grill the squid over the embers for 1–2 minutes on each side, turning once. Season with sea salt and remove from the grill. Place on a clean tray.
  9. 9. In a small saucepan, warm the olive oil, then pour it over the squid. Add the remaining buttermilk and strain all juices and the oil back into the pan. Bring back up to the heat, whisking continuously to allow a light emulsion to form.
  10. 10. Serve immediately in warmed bowls, with the squid placed atop the squid ink sauce. Finish with celery strips, pour over the combined juices and serve with the fresh almonds and celery leaves.
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