Search Recipes

Baby squid with onion confit

Frank Camorra
Frank Camorra

My love of freshly caught squid is hard to put a price on, and this recipe has a story to it. In a small coastal town in Spain, old men catch baby squid for a Basque chef who cooked this dish for me. He told me these retired fishermen are too frail to go to sea but too wedded to the water to leave it. They spend their days sitting on the wharves and breakwaters watching the fleet come and go. In the hands of this chef their little squid are elevated to another level, very quickly sizzled and served with this slow-cooked onion sauce.

Dish with a story: Baby squid with onion confit.
Dish with a story: Baby squid with onion confit. Photo: Marcel Aucar


1.2 kg brown onions, peeled and sliced

10 black peppercorns

4 bay leaves

180ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

2 tsp sea salt

2kg baby squid (about 18 squid)

5 garlic cloves

handful of parsley, chopped

40ml olive oil

TIP: Squid is available at most fishmongers, but if you can't find it go for small calamari. If you can't make pickled beetroot ahead of time, halve the recipe and put the roasted beetroot in a bowl with the pickling mix until you are ready to use it.



Put the onion in a large, heavy-based saucepan. Add the peppercorns, bay leaves, 80mls extra virgin olive oil and half the salt. Cover and cook over a low heat, stirring regularly, for one hour or until the onion has a jam-like consistency.

Meanwhile, to clean the squid, pull the tentacles out of the hoods then the clear cartilage. Peel off and discard the skin. Cut the tentacles off just below the eyes, then rinse the hoods and tentacles. Drain well and place in a bowl.

Place the garlic cloves on a chopping board, sprinkle with remaining salt and finely chop. Add to the squid with 100ml extra virgin olive oil and most of the parsley. Mix well, then leave covered for at least one hour in the fridge.

Heat 40ml olive oil in a large, heavy-based frying pan over high heat until the oil is nearly smoking. Add the squid hoods and tentacles and cook for one minute, then season, turn, cook for another minute and remove from the pan.

Remove bay leaves and peppercorns from onion confit, place a spoonful on each serving plate, stuff the squid tentacles back into the hoods and arrange on top of the onion. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with remaining parsley.

Stored in an airtight container, the leftover onion confit will last in the fridge for two weeks and is good with sausages or homemade burgers.

Main ingredient:
Squid/Octopus, Onion/Leek
Main-course, Side Dish
Dinner Party, Family meals

More recipes like this...

Barbecued calamari

Barbecued calamari, manzanillo olives and macaroni salad

Frank Camorra
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
3 Reader ratings
Crumbed Arrow Head squid with radish and romesco sauce.

Crumbed arrowhead squid with smoked paprika alioli

Frank Camorra
Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
7128 Reader ratings
Octopus in hot smoked paprika sauce

Octopus in hot smoked paprika sauce

Tony Chiodo
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
100 Reader ratings
Calamares a la plancha

Calamares a la plancha

Stephanie Alexander
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
99 Reader ratings
Warm baby octopus and potato salad

Warm baby octopus and potato salad

jane and Jeremy Strode
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
57 Reader ratings
Calamari boccadillo.

Calamari boccadillo

Frank Camorra
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
64 Reader ratings

Grilled calamari with dried black olives, chilli and almonds

Karen Martini
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
64 Reader ratings


Be the first to comment.

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Recipes - Forum

What we’re cooking

Latest on EK

Pester power: Call for ban on free toys used to sell unhealthy food

Obesity experts say freebies should be restricted to attracting children to healthier options.

Mums' workload equals 2.5 full-time jobs

A study has found working mums toil for an average of 98 hours a week.

How many of our bosses would have aced NAPLAN tests?

In more than 25 years' of journalism, I've never interviewed a leader who topped his or her class at school.

Children's shoes found to contain cancer-causing chemical

The ACCC had issued an urgent recall.

When it comes to sport, boys 'play like a girl'

Girls in primary school are just as physically capable as their male classmates, according to research.

Find After School Care

Search by Postcode

Find a Babysitter

  • Daytime nannies
  • Casual babysitters
  • After-school care
  • Live-in nannies