Fresh Squids stuffed with cured pancetta, rice, onion, garlic and mini bell pepper dices on a wine-paprika tomato sauce.
The Catalan gastronomy has a ton of “surf and turf” traditional dishes for example the meatball with squids, the chicken and crayfish, the mar y montaña paella, etc. They call it : Mar y Montaña which translate to sea and mountain. This recipe is inspired by the Catalan surf and turf, although instead of using the traditional ground meat I’ve used a stuffing of rice, cured pancetta, onion, garlic and bell pepper dices. The sauce is an easy traditional one of fried tomato paste, garlic and paprika with a touch of white wine (or water) and a few flat leaves of parsley for the final touch. This recipe is my personal twist on the Catalan Surf and Turf, it’s not a traditional dish, however similar in taste.
A Catalan Tradition
The Catalans are the kings at mixing up sea products and the land ones, thanks to their geographical situation. The first “Mar y Montaña” style meal I’ve ever tried in Catalonia was the albondigas con sepia, meatballs and cuttlefish. It was an odd combination for me at first but once the first bite was in, I understood why those dishes are so popular in Catalonia. They are fantastic! I know there are many sceptics out there, and it’s fine, surf and turf isn’t for everyone but before you say “no” for eternity. I highly suggest you to try any great Catalan dish and if you are still not convinced, then you’ll be able to surrender… In my opinion Catalans make those combos of proteins like no one else does!
So let’s make some Mar y Montaña magic happen!
Mar y Montaña Stuffed Squids
- 6 medium size squids
- 100g of cooked rice
- 60g of cured pancetta cut into small dices
- 1/2 onion cut into small dices
- 1/4 bell pepper cut into small dices
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- salt and pepper
The tomato sauce
- 100g of tomato paste (tomato frito)
- 75ml of white wine or water
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
- 1 tsp of spicy paprika
- 1 garlic clove finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- Start by cleaning up the squids (check this video for more details)
- Cook the rice in water or use leftover rice
- Cut all the ingredients for the filling
- In a small pan, soften the onions for 5 minutes in some olive oil at medium high heat
- Add the garlic, pancetta, pepper, salt and pepper and mix it all together with the rice
- Stuff the squids pushing down gently to fill the whole pocket, close the end with a moist wooden toothpick
- Add all the ingredients of the sauce at the bottom of an ovenproof pot, mix
- Add the stuffed squids over the tomato sauce and top with a touch of olive oil and salt
- Cook at 180°C (350F) for 25 minutes until the squid are turning golden
- Serve with a few freshly cut parsley leaves
Trust me when I say that I’m not at all skeptical about these surf and turf variations. In fact, I think they’re brilliant. You’ve definitely gotten me a heck of a lot more curious about Catalan cooking in general, and all of these wonderful ocean-and-mountain recipes specifically. This also reminds me that I need to cook with squid more often – I love it so much, and it’s generally quite affordable! And I must say, that basic tomato sauce sounds pretty versatile too. I think that’d probably work with all kinds of recipes. Fantastic food, as always!
These look awesome! I had the chance of working with fresh squid while doing an internship at Gio in Halifax, NS. Slippery little buggers to clean, and annoying if you miss the spine! That said, I am enjoying the Spanish dishes you creating here! The land & sea combos are genious and like you said, make total sense if you really think about the location, and ingredients actually involved!.
One of my absolute favourite dishes is gumbo. I love the combination of sausage and seafood. It’s incredible. Stuffed squid with panchetta? Now that’s a dish I can get behind. These look seriously delicious!
Very interesting your pallet is inspired. Look forward to your creations.