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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stuffed Squid and Potato Casserole




Unless one has been exposed to eating the more interesting kinds of fish from an early age there will definitely need to be an adjustment in the way they see things.
As children, we were always being introduced to strange and interesting species from the deep since my parents were from a part of Italy that bordered on the Mediterranean Sea and fresh fish was a daily norm.
As kids, we had never heard of sushi but thinking back on those days I suppose eating raw octopus, squid and cuttlefish may have given us a similar experience.
Mind you, the ones eaten raw were especially chosen to be eaten that way since they were most tender and delicious.
During one of my high school years I presented a project on the octopus to my class and my father generously procured a sizable specimen for me to exhibit.
Off to school I went with an eight legged mollusk stuffed in a glass jar.
Things went very well except for the few students whose faces took on a shade of green as I pulled the wet slimy creature from the jar.
If they could only know that after its debut it was headed straight for a steaming pot and then to our dinner table that evening.
I don’t think I could ever be as courageous today as I was back then. However, I do take courage in the kitchen and prepare the fish dishes that I’ve watched my mother prepare for years.
Courage may not be needed if cleaned fish is purchased as in the cleaned squid I used to cook for this post. The purchase of uncleaned squid and having to clean it is a different story which I will perhaps leave as material for another post.
Stuffed squid with potatoes is another comfort food that warms the room before it warms the stomach.
When served, it’s hard to believe that there was ever anything in the plate since every last drop is usually mopped up with a piece of fresh crusty bread.

Stuffed Squid and Potato Casserole
The ingredients are not in exact measurements. The amount of filling required depends on the number of squid to be filled. A larger quantity potatoes used will require more layers to be made.
Egg and Bread Stuffing
For every slice of soft bread used you will need:
1 egg
About ¼ cup grated cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons chopped Italian parsley
  1. Coarsely grate bread (freezing slice for a few minutes makes grating easier or use a food processor)
  2. Beat the egg well then mix in remaining ingredients.
  3. Allow mixture to rest a few minutes until moisture is absorbed, set aside.
  4. Makes approximately 3/4 cups of stuffing.


Preparing the Squid

  1. Defrost and remove squid from packaging.
  2. Rinse in a bowl of cold, salted water.
  3. Drain well, pat with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  4. Cut off portion of squid above the tentacles and discard.
  5. Fill the squid tube with stuffing, (pastry bag and plain tip makes it easier.)
  6. Place tentacles in the tube opening as shown on picture and secure with a toothpick.
  7. Set aside.
Preparing the Casserole
potatoes (depends on number of servings you wish to make)
olive oil and tomato sauce (enough to drizzle on each layer)
onion (one medium size)
garlic ( approximately 2 cloves)
oregano, salt and pepper (to taste)
Finely chopped Italian parsley and grated cheese (enough to sprinkle on each layer)
  1. Peel potatoes and thickly slice. (about 1/2 inch thick)
  2. Chop onion and garlic and place in bottom of pan.
  3. Drizzle in a small amount of olive oil and tomato sauce.
  4. Sprinkle in some salt, pepper, oregano and cheese and parsley.
  5. Place a layer of sliced potatoes.
  6. Repeat with oil, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, cheese oregano and parsley alternating layers of potatoes and seasonings until all of the potatoes are used up.
  7. Place stuffed squid on top of potato layer and season again.
  8. At this point you can put a layer of potatoes over the squid. This will prevent them from drying out while baking.
  9. Season top layer well.
  10. Add about 1/2 to 3/4 cup water to pan which makes some sauce to dip bread in.
  11. Cover and bake for 1¼ to 1½ hours at 375 degrees F. or until potatoes are fork tender.
  12. If you prefer crispy potatoes on top remove lid in the last 20 minutes of baking.
  13. Remove from oven and let rest covered for about 20 minutes before serving.
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
  • Preparing this dish may seem like a lengthy process but it took me longer to prepare this post than to make, cook the meal, eat it and clean up.
  • The first time I made this there was no written recipe (no surprise here.) Just by knowing the basic ingredients and asking a few (maybe more than a few) questions I was able to put the dish together.
  • After making it a few times you will become more familiar with the ingredients and be able to adjust the amounts and seasonings to your liking.
  • Cleaned, large squid tubes can be used instead of small, this will cut down on preparation time.
  • If large squid tubes are used, after cooking them cut into slices to serve.
  • Do not overfill the squid with stuffing since they tend to burst. Still good to eat but not as presentable.
  • For the tomato sauce, I usually puree some canned plum tomatoes and strain out the seeds before using.
  • No time or patience for stuffing the squid? Slice empty squid tubes and alternate layers of squid and potatoes following the original recipe.
  • Squeamish about tentacles? Squid tubes can be purchased minus the tentacles for the less adventurous.

7 comments:

  1. your sushi-loving daughterJanuary 14, 2012 at 6:47 AM

    You know, I never thought of it like that. You can take an octopus in a glass jar to school, buy them raw and cut them up into pieces as an adult, but when I mention the word sushi you couldn't be more disgusted. Hmmm... Something's fishy! There is a green dragon roll with your name on it (fried shrimp topped with avocado deliciousness!)

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  2. your hungry daughterJanuary 14, 2012 at 6:48 AM

    On a side note, I really do love this dish. I'm not really a potato fan, but when all the flavours come together in this dish, something magical happens. So, leftovers or what?

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  3. Hmmm...This one requires some thought...

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  4. ...after much deep thought and soul searching I have come to the conclusion that I may have to "make an adjustment in the way I see things."

    P.S. You know there was no leftovers,the dishes were wiped clean with that fresh, crusty bread.

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  5. your disappointed daughterJanuary 14, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    No leftovers? What is this?

    I'll bring you a roll tomorrow. I assume you have chop sticks on hand ;)

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  6. I can't wait to try this one, Dominic will love it

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  7. Marianne,
    Make sure you have a lot of good bread on hand!

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