Squid is very much at its best in winter. We don’t always think about the seasonality of seafood, but it’s worth trying the difference between your favourite fish when it’s in season and not. I really wanted to do this dish for my team up at the Oxford Landing Estates Restaurant, not just because I had the opportunity to use squid in season, but also to dispel a few myths about the difficulty of cooking squid. Poaching it in this way takes care of any risk of the rubbery texture so many people equate with squid. I love the combination of good kalamata olives with the squid too – they add that saltiness of the sea. It’s worth hunting down the very best olives you can find for this recipe.
And it goes without saying, it’s also worth hunting down a great wine to add the final punctuation to the dish. I’ve matched this dish with Oxford Landing Estates’ Shiraz, which may seem a surprising choice for seafood, but that wonderful briny-ness I mentioned is perfectly offset with the fruit of a full bodied Shiraz. I’ll look forward to sharing more ideas and feedback with everyone at The Good Food & Wine Show, both at the restaurant and also during the workshops. That’s what the shows are really about for me – the chance to be able to highlight the vibrancy of seasonal produce and good wine, almost as an extension of what my home life is like.
4 (185g each) squid, cleaned (outer membrane left on) and wings on
3?4 cup (180ml) extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp verjuice
1 cup coarse breadcrumbs
1 onion (175g), diced
Zest of 1 orange
12 kalamata olives (it is important you don’t use pre sliced or stoned olives)
4 tbsp capers
To prepare stuffing, slice olive flesh away from the stone. Cook onion off in 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil until really golden and whilst still warm, combine in a bowl of breadcrumbs and orange zest and allow to cool. Pack the stuffing into squid tubes, leaving 2cm–3cm at the top to allow the stuffing to swell during cooking. Secure the top of each squid with a metal skewer.
Gently heat 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in frying pan, place 2 squid into pan and turn gently until sealed on all sides (3–4 minutes), then add 1 tablespoon of verjuice. Cover with lid and leave to poach for 8–10 minutes. Take off heat, squeeze with lemon juice and rest for minimum of 5 minutes. To make vinaigrette, mix 1 tablespoon of verjuice with 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a frying pan, add 4 tablespoons of capers and fry until crispy. Serve each squid with vinaigrette, 1 tablespoon of fried capers, 1 tablespoon parsley and a final drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, alongside grilled polenta.
2 1/2 cups (520ml) milk
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1/2 cup (100g) polenta
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
Heat milk with bay leaf and rosemary. When hot, strain and return to heat. Add polenta and stir. Continue stirring for 5–10 minutes until smooth. Add in cream and butter, take off the heat and stir. Pour into 10cm x 5cm tray and refrigerate for an hour. Remove from tray, cut to size. Heat oil in frying pan, add cut polenta and cook until golden.
Maggie Beer will be at The Good Food & Wine show this weekend (June 1–3) at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Her show is called ‘Verjuice – It’s Love at First Splash’ and we have one double pass to give away with a show bag including verjuice, fruit paste and table sauce, and entry to the show. To enter email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Maggie Beer’.