Recipe Source: Anonymous. The Book of Sent SovÍ. Joan Santanach, ed. Robin Vogelzang, trans. Barcino- Tamesis, Barcelona, 2008 pp. 156 – 7.
I volunteered to teach a class at an upcoming historical re-enactment event. It's a new class and a bit of a departure for me. Most of my food classes center around one place and time - Abbasid cuisine, for example, or late-Medieval Germany. This upcoming class is centered on one type of food - meatballs - and explores how different cultures used them. I thought it might be fun. Anyway, I figured it would be a good idea to look at some non-Arabic sources for meatball recipes to test for this class, so I started delving into some of my non-Arabic sources. I didn't find any in Sent Sovi, but I did find this recipe and I decided that I desperately wanted to make it. Who knows, maybe I'll eventually teach a class on fish.
Anyway, the original allowed for either octopus or squid. I opted for squid because I could get it. I did not need to boil some extra fish parts to make the stuffing, there were plenty of tentacles. This left me with a bit of an issue. The original recipe required that the almond milk be made with the broth from boiling the fish. There was no broth from boiling the fish. I decided to go with commercial almond milk and some vegetable broth to thin it out. I could have used fish broth but I had an open container of vegetable broth in the fridge. Furthermore, had this been prepared during Lent (as it was in this case, although not by someone who is observant) it is likely that fish would have been inappropriate for consumption due to religious restrictions (depending on time and place. Shellfish and squid is generally fine. Fin-type fish depends on culture and time.) There are some people - and we both know who you are - who will disagree with this change but that's my justification. I also substituted sage for the mint to accommodate a food allergy in the family. It would have been as well to just use more parsley but I don't actually like parsley and I do like sage.
My husband really liked this dish. I was okay with it. My issue was the raisins. Raisins are sweet and I don't care for sweet with my savory. My daughter, interestingly enough, ate very bit of her squid... but picked out every last raisin and left them on her plate. That's my girl!
Medieval Stuffed Squid (serves 4 - 6; approx. $5.56/serving)
2 pounds squid, both tubes and tentacles
2 onions, chopped
10 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup raisins
1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
1 bunch fresh sage, chopped
1 bunch fresh marjoram, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups almond milk
2 cups vegetable broth
- Mixing bowl
- Frying pan
- Large, deep saute pan
- Heat the oil in the saute pan.
- Add the onions and the garlic. Saute until the onions are translucent.
- Remove from heat and add the raisins. Set aside to cool until you can handle them comfortably.
- Chop the squid tentacles.
- Combine the tentacles with the herbs, spices and onion mixture in the mixing bowl. Mix well.
- Stuff the squid tubes with the stuffing. Be gentle. Squid tubes don't like to be overstuffed.
- Combine the almond milk and the vegetable broth in the saute pan and bring to a simmer.
- Gently slide the stuffed squid into the simmering liquid. Cook until done.
- Serve hot, with some of the liquid spooned over the tubes.