Recipe by Olha
In the traditional preparation, squid is baked in a brown paper bag. Cuttlefish are just as likely to be used. Both come out juicy, steeped in flavor, and with a toasty air from the baked paper wrap. Cuttlefish is fleshier and has a smoother texture than squid. If you use cuttlefish, they need a little more time to cook tenderly, about 30 minutes.
- 4 lbs squid, cleaned (see note)
- 4 medium tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 6 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- toast, such as Thyme Toasts, for garnish. (see note)
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat the oven to 450°F Prepare a brown grocery bag for baking (see Note).
- Place the squid in the center of the prepared bag. Top with the tomatoes, garlic, and mint, and then sprinkle the salt over all. Fold up the bag envelope style to enclose the ingredients. Place the bag, seam side up, on a baking sheet.
- Bake until the bag is puffed out a bit, 20 minutes. Transfer the bag to a platter and ease it open, taking care to avoid the escaping steam. Arrange 12 to 18 small toasts around the squid and serve right away. Serves 6.
- NOTE: To prepare a brown bag for baking, cut it lengthwise and open it out. Coat the face-up side (inside) with a thin film of olive oil (about 2 tablespoons for a large grocery bag). The oil will seep through to the other side and will prevent the bag from crumbling or burning in the oven during baking.
- PREPARING SQUID: While already cleaned squid are an excellent time-saver and, ounce for ounce, a good buy, too much of the flavor of the sea is washed away in the commercial cleaning. I recommend buying whole squid and preparing them yourself.
- With a paring knife, sever the tentacles from the squid body just above the eyes where you feel a hard ball. With your fingers, push out the hard ball from the center of the tentacles and discard the ball. Gently pull out inside material, trying to avoid tearing the bodies. Rinse the prepared tentacles and bodies in a colander.
- To cut cleaned squid bodies into rings, slice crosswise to the thickness desired. If the tentacles section is small, leave it whole; if large, halve it lengthwise through the area where the hard ball was located.
- If stuffing the whole squid bodies, fill the squid, close, and secure with toothpicks.
- THYME TOASTS: 1 baguette, cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. Several sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried. 2 tablespoons olive oil. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Arrange the bread slices in one layer on a baking sheet and bake until barely golden around the edges, 5 minutes.
- Using the thyme sprigs as a brush, rub one side of each toast with oil. (Or, if using dried thyme, stir it into the oil and use a pastry brush to rub the toasts.) Use right away or store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
- Adventures In Greek Cooking.