Recipe: Spanish Garlic Squid

Spaniards love meat or seafood cooked in oil and garlic: garlic prawns, garlic chicken and garlic squid, writes Roberta Muir.

I use beautiful southern calamari for this simple, tasty dish of calamares al ajillo as I love their delicate flesh, but you could use any squid, mussels, clams, or even chunks of salmon, tuna or chicken; the fish may break up in the sauce a little but will still taste delicious! As with virtually every Spanish dish, bread is an essential accompaniment for mopping up any leftover sauce, though I do sometimes serve rice instead, as the garlicky red sauce works well with it, too.

Serves 2


  • 500g southern calamari, cleaned (see how)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon sweet smoked pimentón (Spanish paprika)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, finely diced
  • Salt flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Sherry or dry white wine
  • Handful of parsley leaves, chopped
  • Crusty bread for serving


  1. Cut the tube and flaps of the calamari into strips lengthways; cut the tentacles into halves or quarters.
  2. Combine garlic, pimentón and half the oil in a large bowl.
  3. Add calamari and mix well with your hands. Set aside for 30–60 minutes (or refrigerate for several hours).
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat, add remaining oil, onion and a good pinch of salt and stir well, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 15–20 minutes, stirring often, until tender.
  5. Remove lid, increase heat to medium and cook for a further 10 minutes or so, stirring often, until golden. You can just set the pan aside at this stage until you are ready to cook the calamari.
  6. Return pan to high heat, add squid and cook for 30–60 seconds, turning often, until opaque all over.
  7. Add Sherry or wine, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  8. Stir through parsley leaves and serve with bread.

Sourced from Be Inspired Food Wine Travel with Roberta