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Braised squid with fennel & mussels
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Squid is at its most delicious when cooked either very fast or slow. Here, it’s gently simmered in a warming stew, with a gorgeous aromatic whisper of fennel and saffron. Ready-prepared mussels save prep time but use fresh ones if you prefer, following the normal safety rules.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, sliced, fronds reserved
1 large pinch saffron
1⁄4 x 20g pack thyme
1 unwaxed lemon, 1 long strip pared zest plus zest of rest, then cut in wedges
1 tsp fennel seeds, ground with a pestle and mortar
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200ml dry vermouth
450g pack vine tomatoes, roughly chopped
500ml fresh fish stock
300g whole squid*, sliced into 1cm rings and tentacles halved if long
260g pack cod loin, cut into large chunks
400g pack cooked mussels
Garlic mayonnaise and white sourdough bread, to serve
1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a low-medium heat, then add the onions, fennel, saffron, thyme, pared zest, ground fennel seeds and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring, until just softened (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute, then add the vermouth. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the alcohol has mostly cooked off (about 3 minutes). Stir in the tomatoes and stock; season and bring back up to a simmer. Add the squid, then turn the heat right down and cook for 20-25 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the squid is completely cooked through and tender.
2. Carefully remove the pared zest and thyme stalks, then add the cod and mussels (with their juices) to the pan. Cover and cook for a further
5 minutes until the fish is opaque and cooked through and the mussels are piping hot. (Remove any that do not open.) Serve scattered with the remaining lemon zest and fennel fronds and with a dollop of garlic mayonnaise. Enjoy with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over, plus some sourdough for mopping up all the delicious juices.
*Available from the fish service counter
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in October 2021.