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    chipirones en su tinta, Spanish squid recipe Basque Recipes, Recipes, Spanish Fish Recipes, Spanish Starters & Appetisers 5 1 5 0

    Baby Squid in Ink Sauce

    • Serves 4 people
    • Complexity Easy
    Prep time
    30 mins
    Cook time
    1h 30 mins
    Total time
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    • 32 whole baby squid
    • 8 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 red onions, finely sliced
    • 1 green pepper, finely sliced
    • 1 beef tomato, finely chopped
    • 45g cuttlefish ink
    • 1 small piece of stale bread, toasted and finely chopped
    • 100ml fish stock
    • 100ml txakoli white wine or any other dry white wine
    • 100ml Spanish brandy
    • Fine sea salt


    Chipirones en su tinta are a classic Basque dish made from line caught baby squid cooked in a sauce made with cuttlefish ink. The origin of this dish is quite debatable, some say that the influence of using squid ink in Basque cuisine comes from the Philippines through Jesuit missionaries who travelled to Asia during the 17th Century. The only other European dish made with squid ink is ‘risotto nero’ which originated in Venice, a commercial city heavily influenced by Jesuits. Basque chipirones does share a lot of similarities with a classic Philippinnes dish called ‘adobong pusit’ made from squid cooked in rice vinegar and soya sauce, fried with a garnish that contains squid ink. The jet black colour of this sauce is quite striking and will certainly raise some eye brows. However, this sauce is so moorish it will make your dinner guests dunk their bread until they clear the whole plate. This sauce has a beautiful balanced sweet flavour coming from the red onions, it is hearty and brings real earthiness to the dish, demonstrating once again how Basque food is inventive yet humble food. The sauce is really a vegetable cream enriched with the ink. I recommend using cuttlefish ink rather than squid ink, purely because squid ink is less dense and intense in flavour because squid live in deep waters with less natural light, whilst cuttlefish tend to live close to the surface taking on more natural light and making their ink more intense in flavour. Chipirones should be made a day in advance, so the squid really takes on the flavour of the sauce and they develop a soft texture.


    1.  Prepare the squid by separating the head from the body, remove the feather cartilage and any other gunk you come into contact with. Wash the body under cold running water. Cut the head away from the tentacles by slicing just under the eyes (discard the head) and push out the beak from the middle of the tentacles. Pull with your hands the side fins from each squid and finely chop them together with the tentacles. Stuff this mix into each squid and close the top with a wooden toothpick. Set aside.
    2.  To make the ink sauce, use a medium size saucepan and heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sliced red onions and green pepper and cook on a gentle heat for 30 minutes until they are very soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a further 10 minutes on a low heat. Add the txakoli wine and reduce the liquid by half. Add the squid ink and cook for 2 minutes. Add the fish stock, season the sauce with sea salt and cook for a further 20 minutes on a low heat. Check the seasoning of the sauce and place in a food processor or blender. Blend until fully combined, the sauce should have the consistency of a tomato sauce. If you need to thin it down slightly add some more fish stock. Pour the sauce into a medium size pan and keep hot.
    3.  To cook the squid, you need to do this in 4 batches. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil per batch until smoking hot. Fry the squid very quickly in the hot oil, for about 2 minutes each side, season with salt and pour in one quarter of the brandy to deglaze the pan, spoon the squid into the hot squid ink sauce. Repeat this process with the rest of the squid.
    4.  Once all the squid is in the sauce, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes or until the squid is tender. Serve with some bomba or short grain rice, fried in olive oil and garlic and cooked for 17 minutes in fish stock. Sprinkle with freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley.

    Shop Ingredients

    Mascaro Brandy V.O.


    Nortindal Squid Ink Jar


    Txakoli Zudugarai 2023


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