This is a very common and traditional Catalan preparation for squid. The pork and hard-boiled egg in the stuffing, along with the almonds in the sauce give this a unique twist. Many variations of this dish exist. One favorite uses saffron milk cap mushrooms (Lactarius deliciosus) in the filling with the pork. Some people like to soak bread in water or milk and add it to the stuffing.
Using the same pan you use to cook the stuffing to make the sauce adds a ton of depth and flavor to the sauce.
Serve the squid and sauce alone as a rich, elegant course for a dinner party. For a family meal, serve them family style, in the sauce, still in the cazuela or pan they were cooked in. These don't need much of an accompaniment past simply prepared green vegetables and good crusty bread.
Check out the video for how to clean the squid
10-12 medium sized Calamari, cleaned, bodies left whole, tentacles cut in small pieces
1 medium sized onion, peeled and diced small
12 oz (about 340g) ground pork
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Oil for cooking
Salt and fresh ground black pepper TT
1 hard-boiled egg, peeled and chopped small
Flour for dredging the squid, and toothpicks to hold them closed after stuffing
2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 red bell pepper (optional), seeded and cut in small dice
4 or 5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled
A few sprigs of parsley, rough chopped
10-12 whole almonds
½ cup dry white wine
1¼ cup water
Oil for cooking
1. Make the stuffing: Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on a medium-low flame. When hot, add a generous amount of oil and then the onion. Sauté the onion, stirring regularly, until it is cooked through, but not browned. Turn the heat up to medium, then add the pork. Break the pork into small pieces while it cooks, season with a little salt and pepper, and continue cooking until browned. When browned, add the garlic and the chopped tentacles. Cook, stirring regularly for another 2 minutes, just long enough to get the tentacles cooked through.
Remove the filling from the pan and let cool down in a bowl on the side. When cool, mix in the hard-boiled egg, taste, and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. Store in the fridge until ready to stuff the calamari.
2. Make the sofrito: Return the same pan to medium-low heat without cleaning it out to make the sauce. If necessary, add a bit more oil to the hot pan, along with the onions and a pinch of salt. Sauté the onions until they are cooked through but not browned. Add the bell pepper, another pinch of salt, and continue cooking until the bell pepper is cooked through and very soft. Add the tomatoes, another pinch of salt, and continue cooking until the tomatoes are very soft and the sofrito is becoming almost paste like.
3. Make the picada: While the sofrito is cooking, use a mortar and pestle or a small food processor to grind up the almonds, garlic, and parsley together.
4. Finish the sauce: When the sofrito is really soft, almost a paste, turn the heat up to medium, stir in the picada, and let it cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, scraping any stuck on bits from the bottom of the pan. When the wine has mostly reduced away, add the water and bring it up to a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, and remove from the heat. Blend, and add salt, if necessary.
5. Stuff the calamari: One at a time, hold a calamari body open, and use the handle of the spoon to fill it with stuffing. Use your fingers to gently push the stuffing down to the end and eliminate any air pockets. Leave about a finger’s width unstuffed next to the opening of the calamari. Use a toothpick to seal the body closed. Repeat until all of the calamari are stuffed.
6. Cook the calamari: Spread flour on a wide plate or casserole dish. Dredge the squid, one at a time, shaking off excess, to get a very thin coating of flour.
Heat a large cazuela or a wide, heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat. When hot, add a little oil to the pan, and sear off the calamari, about 2 minutes on each side.
Lower the heat to medium low, and pour in the sauce. BE CAREFUL of the sauce splattering up at this point. Adjust the heat so that the sauce is gently simmering.
Let simmer for about 5 minutes, then turn all of the squid over, and let simmer another 5 minutes.
Serve hot, immediately.