Squid cooked in its own ink

Squid cooked in its own ink

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

The driving thought for me in this recipe is that a child’s job is sometimes simply to make sense of what she sees and hears. This preoccupation doesn’t end with childhood; I wanted to incorporate squid with pine mushrooms in some way and the following recipe was the result. If your squid doesn’t yield enough ink, you might need to supplement with commercially sterilised ink from your fishmonger.

For the pickled pine mushrooms


Quantity Ingredient
250g pine mushrooms
1 lemon, juiced
200ml white wine vinegar
1 tablepoon salt
2 red asian shallots, peeled and sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon white peppercorns
4 juniper berries
1 small bay leaf
3 thyme sprigs

For the squid

Quantity Ingredient
500g whole squid or medium cuttlefish
1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 garlic clove, finely shredded
1/2 celery stick, finely shredded
1 large red chilli, deseeded and finely shredded
2cm piece of young ginger, peeled and finely shredded
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1/2-1 teaspoon squid ink

For the squid stock

Quantity Ingredient
2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 red asian shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and bruised
1/2 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
2 stems flat-leaf parsley
2 thyme sprigs
2 ripe tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
500ml light fish s tock
2 tablespoons finely shredded green papaya
2 teaspoons rock samphire stems, briefly blanched and refreshed, (see glossary)
citrus oil, (see note)


  1. Pickle the pine mushrooms:
  2. Use a brush to clean the pine needles and dirt off the mushrooms. Trim the stems and cut the caps into quarters or halves, depending on their size. Put them in a bowl, sprinkle with the lemon juice and leave for an hour or so. Place the rest of the pickling ingredients into a pot with 500 ml water and bring to the boil. Cool the mixture to 80°C, then pour it over the mushrooms (the reduced heat helps preserve the colour). Leave at least overnight before using and place in a sterilised preserving jar if storing for a longer time.
  3. Prepare the squid:
  4. Separate the head and tentacles from the body, reserving the tentacles for the stock. Remove and discard the guts and carefully extract the ink sac (this is a silvery pouch). Peel the skin off the body and cut it open. Wipe the inside surface with damp paper towels. Cut the squid into squares of about 2.5 cm. Squeeze the ink out of the sac into a bowl and add 1 teaspoon water. Set aside for 30 minutes, then strain. The rest of the squid preparation is done just before serving.
  5. Make the squid stock:
  6. Heat the oil in a saucepan over high heat, add the tentacles and cook so they colour quickly. Add the shallots, garlic and carrot and sauté until softened. Add the parsley, thyme and tomatoes and cook for 3–4 minutes until the tomatoes soften. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, then add the fish stock. Simmer for about 30 minutes until the stock tastes of squid and has an extreme sweetness from the squid and tomatoes. Strain and set aside.
  7. Cook the squid:
  8. Heat the oil in a frying pan over high heat. Add the garlic, celery, chilli and ginger and fry quickly until just starting to become fragrant. Add 150 ml of the squid stock and bring quickly to a simmer. Add the squid pieces and cook for 1 minute. Fish out all the vegetables and squid and keep warm. Reduce the stock by half, add the soy sauce and squid ink and bring up to a simmer.
  9. Assemble the dish:
  10. Arrange pieces of mushroom on each person’s plate, then add some green papaya and samphire. Arrange a few pieces of squid and vegetables on top and spoon over some sauce. Finish with drops of citrus oil around the plate and serve immediately.

To make citrus oil

  • Heat 100 ml of grapeseed oil in a saucepan to 70°C. Put the zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime in a sterilised preserving jar and pour in the oil. Cover and leave overnight before use.
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