Stuffed Baby Squid

Seppioline alla Cetrullo

Although it is difficult to get baby squid in the UK, larger squid is now very widely available and you can substitute this, sliced into small, even shapes. The recipe, from Pescara, has more than a hint of fiery chilli about it. The flavours of this cuisine are characterised by their strength - the intense, vivacious flavours of capers, anchovies preserved in salt, very strong garlic and chilli peppers. The fish dishes of Pescara have a long-standing and jealously preserved tradition, and recipes are handed down from generation to generation with few alterations.

Serve with sautéed potatoes and courgettes stewed with tomatoes.


  • about lb (1.2 kg) squid (preferably weighing about oz (120 g) each), gutted, washed and patted dry
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 whole chilli
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon capers preserved in salt or brine
  • 4 anchovies preserved in salt, cleaned and boned or 8 canned anchovy fillets, drained
  • 3 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
  • about 4 tablespoons plus ½ wine glass olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 10 fl oz (300 ml) hot fish stock


Prepare the squid, but be careful to leave the body sacs intact. If they are very large, remove the tentacles and keep the sacs separate, otherwise try to keep the whole fish in one piece. Set them aside.

Peel 1 of the garlic cloves. Chop the parsley again with it, the capers and the anchovies until everything is very fine. Mix the chopped ingredients with the breadcrumbs and enough oil (about 4 tablespoons) to make a smooth paste. Season with salt and pepper. Push this stuffing into the sacs of the squid and tie or sew them closed with cook’s string.

Put the remaining oil in a shallow pan wide enough to take all the squid in one layer. Fry the remaining 2 unpeeled garlic cloves and chilli in the oil until brown, then remove them and lay the squid in the pan. Brown on both sides, then pour the wine over them and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with fish stock and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove the chilli. Remove the squid from the pan and take off the string. Arrange the squid on a warmed serving dish with all their juices and serve.