Year Round Recipes Fish

Cuttlefish tagine


A version of this recipe was taught to me by the owner of house. I’d always associated tagines with slow-cooked meat or poultry, so it was a revelation to discover this. Any good fishmonger will be able to supply you with cuttlefish but this recipe can also be made with large squid, using both bodies and tentacles. When cooked for a long time, cuttlefish or squid becomes unctuous and soft and will absorb all the flavour of the spices. Cleaned squid means ink sac, insides and quill removed and tentacles separated from the body. If you choose to clean the squid yourself, there are lots of useful videos online to refer to, otherwise your fishmonger will be able to do this.

These recipes originally appeared in House & Garden magazine, photos courtesy of Oivind Haug.



  • 2kg cuttlefish with tentacles (or large squid), cleaned
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 salted anchovy fillets (jarred or tinned in oil)
  • 1 red and 1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 4 medium tomatoes, skinned and roughly chopped (or use tinned tomatoes)
  • 1tbsp tomato puree
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 40g mixed coriander and parsley, leaves picked from the stalks, chopped
  • Spice mix:
  • 1tbsp ground coriander seeds
  • 1tbsp ground cumin
  • 1tbsp dried oregano
  • 1tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp fine sea salt
  • a pinch of saffron, soaked in 2tbsp hot water
  • To serve:
  • 20g fresh coriander, leaves picked from the stalk


  • Take one of the cuttlefish (or squid) bodies, which are formed like triangle shaped pouches, and using a sharp knife slit open one side and open it out to make a flat piece. Using the back of your knife, scrape away any slimy membrane from the inside of the body and slice the flesh diagonally lengthways into long strips. Repeat with the other pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large casserole or heavy bottomed pan on a medium heat and add the garlic, anchovy and chillies. Fry until the anchovies melt into the oil and the garlic just starts to colour. Increase the heat and add the spice mix ingredients, cuttlefish bodies and tentacles and continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring to distribute the heat. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, lemon juice and 200ml water along with the chopped coriander and parsley. Cover with a piece of parchment paper and a lid. Cook like this for ½ hour then remove the lid and paper, stir well and continue to cook for another ½ hour by which stage the cuttlefish should be meltingly tender and the sauce thick. If the sauce is still a little watery, scoop out the cuttlefish into your serving dish and cover to keep warm, then turn up the heat and boil to reduce the sauce to a thicker consistency.
  • Sprinkle with the rest of the herbs to serve. This is delicious served with the spiced potatoes, courgettes or carrots (recipes below).


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