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The Real Greek at Home
by Theodore Kyriakou & Charles Campion
Every year, on the first weekend after our National Day - 28th October - my mother would put us to work cleaning the barbecue and storing it away in the shed. For us our National Day signaled the end of grilled food for the year. When we had put the barbecue away, we had to unpack all the casseroles for winter and check which ones needed re-coppering.
Serves 4


1kg (2¼ lb) cleaned squid (about 2kg/4½ lb unprepared; ask your fishmonger to help)
200ml (7fl oz) olive oil
1kg (2¼ lb) shallots, peeled
20g (3/4oz) garlic cloves, peeled
1.5kg (3 lb 5oz) horta (fresh greens like spinach)
salt and pepper to taste
300g (10½ oz) tomato perasti (the Greek equivalent of tomato passata [crushed tomatoes])

Cut the squid into manageable chunks - about 4cm (1½ in) square - then crisscross score one side.

2. Put the olive oil, shallots, and garlic in a large saucepan over a very low heat and braise with the lid on. In about 30 minutes the shallots and garlic will be melting, but not coloured.

3. Add the horta, stir well, and leave to cook with the lid on for another 30 minutes. Season and add the tomato perasti. By this time, there should be some liquid in the pan. If your pan looks dry, you have been using too strong a heat.

4. Add the squid, stir well, replace the lid, and cook for 20-30 minutes, until the squid is tender. Adjust the seasoning. The dish is ready when the juices taste strongly of squid. Do not plate straight away, but allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes.

5. Lovers of extra virgin olive oil will drizzle a couple of tbsp over their meal. Warm bread is an essential accompaniment.

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