Wintertime is the period of squids’ reign in Adriatic. This becomes very obvious as you can see the number of fishermen floating in their boats not too far from the coast, making those specific moves with their hands pulling and releasing hooks with artificial fish as bate for greedy squids.
Without a doubt, the best way to prepare squid is directly from the cold sea. All you need is someone willing to share their precious prey with you; a hot grill, preferably on cinders of grape wood; homemade fresh olive oil and ground salt. After tasty bites, a sip of red wine would round off this genuine winter gastronomic event so adorable in Dalmatia; before a card game next to a fireplace…
Besides this rather simple but special recipe, there are many ways to prepare fresh squid, and one of the most interesting is as follows.
Easy Homemade Squid Stew Recipe
Almost all Dalmatian recipes begin the same – cook tiny sliced onions in warm olive oil until it gets glassy and gold-like. Add sliced squids and stew them for a while. Lower the flame and add potatoes sliced into small cubes. Add as much water as is enough just to cover the potatoes and fish. Cook it on low heat until the potatoes are done.
While stewing, the pot content should not be stirred but slightly shaken. Usual ingredients would, of course, include salt and black pepper. While Mediterranean herbs should be added optionally – in line with your abilities to get them and according to your taste: dry oregano leaves, bay leaf, parsley, and garlic (could be also added firstly, when putting onions on hot oil), tomato puree, and or ground red pepper or chili.
Make sure that if you add peeled tomatoes or tomato puree add a teaspoon of sugar. Red wine could also be added to squid stew, but, be careful, as wine can toughen the squid meat. The wine should be added before stewing the fish – add fish when the majority of wine is vaporized. Another option would be at the end, some 15 minutes before you take it off the fire. In case you decided to make the stew with red wine, we would suggest you add a pinch of cinnamon to make the overall taste even more special.
If you are not keen on preparing squid stew yourself, you should definitely charter a yacht in Croatia, and ask your skipper where to taste the best one.