Squid with Fennel, Spinach, and Sorrel

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

If there’s a fish dish that says “Cook me long and slow,” this is the one. Gentle, leisurely long cooking allows squid (or the more authentic cuttlefish) to spread its sweet flavor and reduces chewiness. Cuttlefish is the ingredient of choice here. Its sweeter flesh goes particularly well with fennel and sorrel. Imported frozen cuttlefish are very large; one can serve four people. Squid should either be cooked very quickly or very slowly. Long slow cooking will give you an especially delicious result.

While my Cretan friend Mirsini Lampraki picks sorrel in the hills above Heraklion, I pick it from a box on my terrace. If you don’t grow your own sorrel, you’ll probably find it at your local farmers’ market in season.


  • 2 pounds squid or cuttlefish, cleaned
  • cup olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 to 3 scallion(s), finely chopped
  • 1 cup diced fennel bulb
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¾ cup dry crisp white wine, such as Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon or Pinot Blanc
  • 1 pound spinach leaves, rinsed, stemmed, and coarsely cut up
  • 1 pound sorrel leaves, rinsed, stemmed, and coarsely cut up
  • ¼ cup minced fresh dill
  • Pinch of fennel seeds, bruised in a mortar
  • Salt
  • 1 tablespoon (all-purpose) flour
  • Juice of 1 large lemon
  • freshly ground pepper


  1. Early in the day, clean the squid or cuttlefish. Rinse and cut into bite-sized pieces. Without drying the pieces, put them in a large saucepan and cook over low heat until the liquid they exude evaporates, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add the olive oil, onion, scallions, and fennel and cook until the squid pieces begin to turn golden and aromatic, 10 minutes. Add the garlic, wine, and ¾ cup water and continue to simmer for 10 more minutes.
  3. Add the spinach, sorrel, dill, fennel seeds, and salt. Cover and cook for 45 minutes for squid and up to 2 hours for cuttlefish. Up to this point the dish can be prepared many hours in advance.
  4. About 20 minutes before serving, reheat the stew to simmering. In a small bowl, mix the flour and lemon juice until smooth. Stir into the pan juices and bring to a boil, stirring. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.