When I first proclaimed that I was going to try to eat a bit more healthily, I fully intended to revert back to my more gluttonous ways as soon as my pants fit again. (Admittedly I don’t learn from my mistakes very easily!)
Suddenly it’s one month later and not only have I somehow miraculously stuck to my healthier habits … I’m also fitting into things I’d – ahem – previously given up on! And, as a major fringe benefit, I’ve been a lot more adventurous in the kitchen as of late and have been discovering new favourites.
One of those favourites is cuttlefish. It feels like a luxury, and yet it’s surprisingly affordable. Pieter and I made stuffed cuttlefish a few weeks ago, which sparked my craving, but while delicious they were definitely a bit of a hassle. For a weeknight delight, give this Greek cuttlefish option a go. It’s light, hearty and delicious – not to mention super easy!
Note: I use the term ‘Greek’ loosely! It’s basically a mix between a Greek dish of cuttlefish and spinach and a shrimp saganaki – and likely turned totally un-Greek with the addition of the bay leaf though I’m not all that well-versed in Greek cuisine. Please be gentle with me, culinary Greek gods/goddesses!
For two, you will need:
15-30 ml olive oil, for frying
1 yellow onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 glass white wine
100-200 ml water (depending on how sauce-y you like it)
about 350-400 grams canned diced tomatoes
as much fresh spinach as you like
2-3 fresh tomatoes, de-seeded and coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
feta, for crumbling
a few handfuls of shrimp, for extra heartiness
*I hate fresh dill. I don’t know why, but I do. If you like it, I suspect it brings a little somethin’ somethin’ to the dish!
Ok, let’s go!
First, make sure you don’t have any organs inside your fish. My fishmonger had removed the ink and everything but there were still a few squishy bits to take care of. I tried being precious about it and using a knife but, honestly: just get in there with your hands. It’s so much easier! You can use the tentacles in this dish as well, but I personally am not crazy about the texture. Your call.
Once that’s done, heat about 15 ml of oil on a medium flame and add your diced onion, seasoning as you please. Stir until translucent, then add the garlic and sauté another 30-45 seconds. Remove from the pan. Add a bit more oil to your pan (depending on the quality of your pan – cough cough Ikea) and increase the heat to medium-high. Pop your cuttlefish into the pan and sear for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. It doesn’t get super brown but do look for a little bit of colour.
As soon as you see a bit of golden colour on both sides, add your onions and garlic back to the pan along with the wine – let it come to a simmer, and be sure to gently scrape the bottom of the pan to get all of those delicious bits of flavour. Take the opportunity to season as you like and, after about a minute, go ahead and toss your fresh and canned tomatoes, water and bay leaf right in there. Let everything come to a simmer, then cover – and walk away!
(I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of sauce! And indeed it is. But trust me, you’re going to want it. Plus you’ll be adding in all that spinach in a moment.)
Roughly 40-45 minutes later, uncover the pan and let simmer another few minutes if you like, just to thicken the sauce. Finally, toss in your spinach – as soon as it’s wilted, you’re done!
I also like to add in some shrimp. Pan fry it separately (or even with your onion & garlic), and then add it back in at the very end so that it doesn’t get too chewy.
I serve this dish with a delicious sprinkle of feta on top and some homemade flatbread (this recipe is amazing by the way) on the side for sauce-moppin’.
It may not be pretty or elegant when the juices are running down your hands and into your elbow creases, but it sure is worth it!