Italian Family Dining
by Edward & Eugenia Giobbi
Cuttlefish are shipped to the United States from Spain and Italy, where they are highly prized. Similar but superior to a squid, the cuttlefish has thick, sweet white flesh. It can be steamed, broiled, grilled, stewed, and fried. This is one of our favorite ways to prepare it. For a fall variation, we add boiled fresh cranberry beans to this salad.
Serves 4 to 6
• 1 large cuttlefish (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), cleaned and with head and tentacles intact (see Note)
• Olive oil
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper or hot pepper flakes
• 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
• 2 large red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
• 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 4 garlic cloves, sliced
• 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 2 bay leaves
Prepare a grill.
Rub the cuttlefish with some oil, salt, pepper, and the rosemary. Place the cuttlefish on a piece of aluminum foil that is a couple of inches larger than the fish. Place on the grill and cook for about 20 minutes. Turn the cuttlefish over and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the cuttlefish, discard the foil, and continue to grill the cuttlefish for about 2 minutes on each side—this will create browned grill marks on the fish.
Remove the cuttlefish and cut the body into strips about 1/2 inch wide and 2 inches long. Cut the head and tentacles into thin slices.
In a large serving bowl, combine the cuttlefish with the bell peppers, extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, and salt to taste. Allow the salad to rest for at least 2 hours before serving. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
Note: Clean the cuttlefish head by cutting off the beak. and eyes, and remove the skin. Remove the innards and bone and discard. Or, ask your fishmonger to clean the cuttlefish.