Baby Saffron Squid Stuffed with Bulgur and Zahtar

Popular in the coastal regions of Greece, Turkey and Lebanon, these tender baby squid, stuffed with fine-grained bulgur...
Contributor

Jan Baldwin

Popular in the coastal regions of Greece, Turkey and Lebanon, these tender baby squid, stuffed with fine-grained bulgur and flavoured with saffron and zahtar, are a delightful addition to any mezze table. Other versions include stuffing the squid with cheese and herbs and chargrilling them. To prepare the squid, hold the body sac in one hand and pull the head off with the other. Most of innards should come out with the head, but reach inside the sac with your fingers to remove any that remain in there. Whip out the transparent backbone, rinse the body sac inside and out, and pat it dry. Cut the tentacles just above the eyes, so that you have the top of the head and the tentacle joined together. Discard everything else.

Mezze by Ghillie Basan, photography by Jan Baldwin, is published by Ryland Peters & Small.

4
Servings
54
Calories Per Serving
Deliver Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1/4  Cup  fine bulgur, rinsed and drained
  • 1  Tablespoon  fine bulgur, rinsed and drained
  • Freshly squeezed juice of a lemon
  • 1/2  Cup  white wine
  • 1  Pinch of  saffron fronds
  • 1  Tablespoon  tomato purée/paste
  • garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2  Teaspoons  runny honey
  • 1  Tablespoon  Zahtar, reserve a little for garnishing
  • baby squid, prepared as described in the intro
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • sprigs fresh thyme

Directions

Preheat the oven to 360 degrees F.

Put the bulgur in a bowl and pour over just enough boiling water to cover it and no more. Place a clean tea/dish towel over the bowl and leave the bulgur for about 20 minutes to absorb the liquid. Once the water has been absorbed, the quantity of bulgur will double.

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tablespoons of the olive oil with the lemon juice, white wine, and saffron. Put it aside to allow the saffron to release its colour. Combine the remaining tablespoon of olive oil with the tomato purée/paste garlic, honey and Zahtar, and, using your fingers, rub the mixture into the bulgur and season well with salt and pepper.

Using your fingers, or a teaspoon, stuff the bulgur into the body sacs and plug the hole with the tentacles. Place the stuffed squid into a shallow earthenware or other ovenproof baking dish and pour over the saffron liquid. Tuck the sprigs of thyme around the squid and pop them in the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes.

Transfer the stuffed squid to a serving dish, spoon the cooking juices over them, sprinkle the reserved Zahtar over the top, and serve immediately.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
1g
1%
Sugar
4g
4%
Carbohydrate, by difference
7g
5%
Protein
1g
2%
Vitamin A, RAE
4µg
1%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
2mg
3%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
1µg
1%
Calcium, Ca
14mg
1%
Choline, total
2mg
0%
Fiber, total dietary
1g
4%
Fluoride, F
51µg
2%
Folate, total
19µg
5%
Iron, Fe
1mg
6%
Magnesium, Mg
10mg
3%
Niacin
1mg
7%
Phosphorus, P
30mg
4%
Selenium, Se
1µg
2%
Sodium, Na
21mg
1%
Water
39g
1%

Saffron Shopping Tip

Spices and dried herbs have a shelf life too, and lose potency over time. The rule of thumb is, if your spices are over two years old, it's time to buy some new ones.

Saffron Cooking Tip

Toasting whole spices before using them intensifies their aroma and flavor.