Difficulty: Medium Difficulty
The Algerian town of Bejaia , with its modest fishing industry, was a base for Barbary corsairs at the beginning of the sixteenth century and their activities attracted the Spanish, who attacked the town in 1509. Further to the west, in the Kabylie, the mountains come right down to the water. There are sheltered bays that once provided refuge for the pirate ships and small fishing villages such as Ziama Mansouria that today have small catches including squid which cooks like to stuff. This Algerian version of stuffed squid can be served with Baṭāṭis Mirḥya, potato puree or boiled rice stirred with butter.[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 1 hour
1/2 cup medium-grain rice, rinsed well and soaked for 30 minutes in water to cover and drained
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
10 squid (about 1 1/2 pounds), cleaned
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, very finely chopped
3 large ripe tomatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds), peeled, seeded and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 large egg yolks beaten with 2 tablespoons water
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon powdered or very finely crumbled bay leaf1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Place the rice, water, salt and 1/2 tablespoon butter in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, cook exactly 10 minutes, and drain. Set aside.
2. Cut off the tentacles of the squid just below the eyes and chop finely. In a large skillet, heat 1/ 3 cup of the olive oil over medium-high heat, then cook the tentacles, onion, and one of the tomatoes until some liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Add the rice and parsley and stir again, mixing well. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the stuffing to a medium-size bowl. Stir in the egg yolks. Let this mixture cool.
3. Stuff the squid three-quarters full with this mixture and secure the opening with a toothpick.
4. In a large stove-top casserole, heat the remaining 1/ 3 cup olive oil over medium-low heat, then cook the stuffed squid until slightly golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. Season with some salt and pepper, the garlic, powdered bay leaf, and cayenne, add the remaining tomatoes, and cook until slightly dense, another 15 minutes.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
6. Place the casserole in the oven with slivers of the remaining 2 tablespoons butter on top of each squid and bake until the butter is melted and the sauce very hot, about 15 minutes. Serve hot.