Cuttlefish fritters in a squid ink and red pepper sauce

Cuttlefish fritters in a squid ink and red pepper sauce

Fish Kitchen
David Loftus

Cuttlefish is an underrated fish that deserves to be used more often. I like the way that it takes on the flavours of whatever you braise it with, but doesn’t lose its own character, texture or flavour.


Quantity Ingredient
600g cuttlefish, cleaned
light rapeseed oil, for cooking
2 white onions, peeled and finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 red peppers, cored, deseeded and finely diced
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
200ml dry cider
450ml Fish stock
150g unsalted butter
120g plain flour, plus an extra 50 g for coating
2 eggs, beaten
100g japanese panko breadcrumbs
oil, for deep-frying
cornish sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Squid ink and red pepper sauce

Quantity Ingredient
1 large red peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
500ml Shellfish stock
500ml Fish stock
50g unsalted butter
2 ripe tomatoes, diced
4 teaspoons squid ink
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Red pepper and thyme dressing

Quantity Ingredient
1 red pepper
30ml cider vinegar
100ml extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons thyme, chopped


  1. Cut the cuttlefish into 2 cm slices, pat dry and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a large frying pan with a drizzle of oil, then add the cuttlefish and cook for 2 minutes, turning occasionally. Next, add the onions, garlic, red peppers and paprika and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in the cider and fish stock, bring to a simmer and cook gently for 1 hour.
  3. For the sauce, heat a saucepan with a drizzle of oil, then add the red pepper and chilli and cook for 4 minutes. Add the stocks, butter and tomatoes, bring to the boil and reduce down to about 200 ml. Transfer to a blender, add the squid ink and blitz until smooth. Pour into a bowl and stir in the parsley; set aside.
  4. For the dressing, grill the red pepper under a high heat, or skewer on a fork and turn over a naked flame to scorch the skin, then peel. Halve, core and deseed the pepper, then cut into 1 cm dice. Toss in a bowl with the cider vinegar, extra virgin oil, thyme and some salt and pepper.
  5. When cooked, drain the cuttlefish, saving the liquor. Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the butter. When it starts to bubble, add the 120 g flour, stir and cook for 2 minutes. Now add the cooking liquor, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly to keep it smooth. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.
  6. Chop the cuttlefish and add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Tip into a tray lined with greaseproof paper and let cool, then refrigerate for at least 1½ hours until set.
  7. Cut the set cuttlefish mix into pieces, each weighing about 40 g, and roll into balls. Have the beaten eggs ready in one bowl, the flour in another and breadcrumbs on a tray. Pass the cuttlefish pieces through the flour, then the eggs and finally into the breadcrumbs to coat. Set aside until ready to cook and serve.
  8. Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or other suitable pan to 180°C and fry the cuttlefish, in batches as necessary, for 2–3 minutes. Meanwhile, warm the sauce. Remove the cuttlefish fritters, drain on kitchen paper and season with salt.
  9. Serve the fritters at once, with the squid ink sauce and the red pepper and thyme dressing.
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