cioppino-calamariThis recipe is adapted from Seasonings: Flavours of the Southern Gulf Islands by Andrea and Spalding (Harbour Publishing 2012), who credit it to Chef Hubertus Surm of the Saturna Café. The base is easy to make and refrigerate overnight, then serve with fresh West Coast seafood. We enjoyed it first with halibut, spot prawns, scallops and mussels, then saved the leftover stew for a second meal with calamari (squid). Squid is delicious, quick to prepare, and will travel well frozen in your boat’s new portable freezer. Freezing and thawing also helps tenderize squid meat. We found this dish especially tasty the second night, when the flavours of stew and seafood had time to blend.

Stew Base
3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
2 cups (475 ml) sliced leek (white portion only)
2 tsp (10 ml) salt
Ground pepper to taste
1 large yellow pepper, seeded and diced
1 small fennel bulb, halved, cored, sliced lengthwise
1½ cups (350 ml) sliced carrot
1 tsp (5 ml) chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp (5 ml) ground fennel
½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground coriander
1 cup (250 ml) white wine (plus a glass for the cook!)
2½ cups (600 ml) chopped canned tomato
4-5 cups (1-1.2 l) chicken or fish stock
2 tsp (10 ml) chili paste with soybean oil (or sambal chili sauce)


Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Add leek, salt and pepper, and sauté over medium heat for three to four minutes. Add yellow pepper, fresh fennel, carrot, oregano, ground fennel and coriander. Simmer for five minutes, then add wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has disappeared. Add tomato and cook another five minutes. Add stock and chili paste, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender. Chill the stew base and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
To serve, heat the broth to a simmer while you clean and slice eight medium squid tubes into strips a quarter to a half-inch wide, removing any clear strips of cartilage you find inside the tubes. Add squid to the simmering broth and cook until the strips curl up and become opaque white in colour, just a minute or so. Serve with a baguette or garlic bread for dipping in the broth. Makes four servings.

Recipe courtesy of Duart Snow

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