Fresh Squids stuffed with cured pancetta, rice, onion, garlic and mini bell pepper dices on a wine-paprika tomato sauce.Fresh Squids stuffed with cured pancetta, rice, onion, garlic and mini bell pepper dices on a wine-paprika tomato sauce.

Spanish Style Stuffed Squids

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.

Spanish Style Stuffed Squids

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

stuffed calamari surf and turfIngredients
  • 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
  1. Start by cleaning up the squids (check this video for more details)
  2. Cook the rice in water or use leftover rice
  3. Cut all the ingredients for the filling
  4. In a small pan, soften the onions for 5 minutes in some olive oil at medium high heat
  5. Add the garlic, pancetta, pepper, salt and pepper and mix it all together with the rice
  6. Stuff the squids pushing down gently to fill the whole pocket, close the end with a moist wooden toothpick
  7. Add all the ingredients of the sauce at the bottom of an ovenproof pot, mix
  8. Add the stuffed squids over the tomato sauce and top with a touch of olive oil and salt
  9. Cook at 180°C (350F) for 25 minutes until the squid are turning golden
  10. Serve with a few freshly cut parsley leaves



Spanish Style Stuffed Squids

 Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplant

Spicy Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplant is a bite into a mildly hot and comforting meaty dish accompanied with an earthy Sichuan style sauce. This recipe is not a traditional Chinese recipe, although flavored with all the great Sichuan flavors, it’s a twist on my love for Sichuan flavors. A great dish if you feel like a rich and spicy meaty dinner with an oriental flare to it. The secret in this recipe lays in the fermented broad bean paste called Doubanjiang, more precisely Pixian Doubanjiang. This paste is a jewel from the famous Chinese region, it brings a rich, salty, spicy kick to the dish. Although, in our days, many household use a Doubanjiang made with mostly oil or fermented soya instead of Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplantbeans which result into a quite different result. So if you want to get your Sichuanese recipes taste like the real deal, take care to buy the authentic Pixian Doubanjiang at your favorite Asian market.sichuanpin

This Sichuanese paste is the core of the recipe, also present is the Shaoxing wine which gives a welcomed kick to any chinese food, a good substitute for this would be brandy or sherry. As for the mushrooms in this preparation the maitake mushrooms are used but it could easy be replaced by shiitakes or button mushrooms.

As for the plating in general, I suggest small eggplants, big ones would be for big appetites only. The stuffed eggplant is installed on a small bed of white rice to stabilize it on the plate. Also, the white rice will get infused with the Sichuan sauce as soon as you cut through it and let the sauce flow into it. Of course the recipe is suitable for low-carb diet or paleo diet simply eliminate the white rice. In the last step of the recipe, the roasting part in the oven, the Sichuanese sauce will, in part, get absorbed by the eggplant and give it a great punchy flavor.

So let’s make this Sichuanese stuffed eggplant!

Spicy Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplant

Makes 2 portions

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 300g of ground beef
  • 100g of mushroom finely chopped (shiitake, maitake or button mushrooms)
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 cm cube of ginger finely chopped
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • Mushroom2 tbsp of spicy black bean paste (Doubanjiang)
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp of chinese wine (Shaoxing)
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cut the eggplant into 2 on the length, cut out the inside with a spoon
  2. Spray or brush lightly with oil (sunflower or neutral oil), salt and pepper
  3. Add the eggplant cut side down on a baking tray and cook at 180°C (350F) for 20 minutes
  4. During that time, cook, medium-high heat, in an oiled pan the onion and mushroom
  5. When soften, add the garlic, ginger and ground beef
  6. Cook until the meat is cooked, then add the bean paste, the chinese wine and the soy sauce and mix until the paste is well incorporated into the mix
  7. Let cook a minute or two to evaporate the alcohol from the chinese wine
  8. Stuffed the eggplants with the sichuan beef mix and cook at 180°C (350F) for an extra 5 minutes
  9. Serve


Sichuan beef-mushroom stuffed eggplant