Cuttlefish with Spinach
Cuttlefish with spinach is a very popular Greek traditional food and for a good reason because it’s both nutritious and delicious! I like this recipe so much that in my eyes appears as comfort food! Give it a try and thank me later!
Spinach for strength!
Cuttlefish with Spinach is an easy recipe that the only thing that’s a little time-consuming is preparing it because we have to wash spinach and clean the cuttlefish as well as a lot of spring onions but believe me it’s worth it.
Rumor has it that this food was cooked by Olive for Popeye the sailor man from the well-known illustrated cartoon! Hahaha, I’m kidding but it was no coincidence that Popeye ate spinach and instantly became stronger because it is very energizing and an excellent source of Vitamin K, C, and iron with many beneficial properties for our health!
Popeye’s slogan, after all, was “I’m strong to the “finich”, ’cause I eats me spinach” and it would be good to trust him because at the time Popeye first appeared to eat spinach, in 1929, it was a very misunderstood plant that it was neither ate nor cooked by a lot of people!
It could be said that with the popularity and encouragement of this cartoon, spinach managed to get into the kitchens of the average housewives and gave them a reason to convince their children to eat spinach since it would make them strong like Popeye.
Popeye the Sailor Man, sketch 2019 by Samuel Valencia
How to cook Cuttlefish with Spinach in a pressure cooker
Cooking with a pressure cooker has many benefits not only for this food but also in general. First of all, we save time because it cooks food much faster, we save electricity because we fire up the stove for a very little time compared to a regular pot. And last but not least it cooks this food perfectly because it capture all its juices inside the pot and that results in a tastier cuttlefish.
In my pressure cooker, it only takes 30 seconds at Max, then I turn off the stove and in 20 minutes, the cuttlefish is ready.
How to cook Cuttlefish with Spinach in a normal pot
If you don’t have a pressure cooker that’s alright because you can cook it in a normal pot just fine. It only needs about 30 minutes simmering and it’s ready!
We follow the same procedure that we would do in a pressure cooker but we have to check from time to time just in case we need to add some water.
How to clean and cook fresh spinach
Spinach is a delicate plant and in any way you choose to prepare it, it requires very little cooking time.
Even when we wash it I would recommend only do so with cold water because if the water is lukewarm it will start to soften and lose its taste. For this recipe, add the spinach to the pot after the cuttlefish are cooked, and as soon as it withers it only takes 3 minutes and it’s ready.
How to clean cuttlefish
Before you start cleaning the Cuttlefish you must wear gloves because if you accidentally punch their ink pouch and it spreads on your hands you will be scrubbing it a long time to take it off.
Cuttlefish are easy to clean because they only have one hard, big, white bone in their backbone that starts where their head ends and reaches their tail. It comes out very easily with an incision with the knife at the side of the backbone and by slightly pushing it with your fingers upwards.
The only thing you should be careful about when you clean cuttlefish is their ink pouch. You should be careful not to pick it and all their ink spreads on your cutting board.
The outer flesh of the soup can be easily removed with one pull as long as you make a cut over one of the flaps of cuttlefish and then pull it off with your hands. Watch the detailed video below on how to clean cuttlefish.
A Cretan Greek «Mantinada» (small folklore poem that rhymes) about cuttlefish goes like:
“You are a cuttlefish but I am a fisherman. You may want to spray ink on me but one day
I will fry you in the pan!”
(I know it does not rhyme in English but I promise you it rhymes very nicely in Greek!)
Greek fisherman mending his net by wasio photography
Cuttlefish with Spinach
- 1 kg cuttlefish (about 2 Cuttlefish cut in thick strips)
- 1 kg fresh spinach*
- 1 leek cut in rounds
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4-5 Spring onions cut in rounds
- 1 handful dill, finely chopped
- 1 wineglass white wine
- 4 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt/pepper to taste
- Trim the spinach and wash it thoroughly, changing 3 waters to clean it, and let it drain its excess water on a strainer for about an hour.
- Clean and cut the cuttlefish in strips, add them to a bowl, and season them with salt and pepper so they get a nice coating.
- Sauté the onion with the leek and the olive oil over high heat and add the cuttlefish.
- Let them sauté a little, then add the spring onions, dill, and let them cook all together over high heat until their juices is reduced to half.
- Add the wine and let it braise with an open lid over high heat for about 2-3 minutes or until the alcohol evaporates.
- Pressure cooker-> Close the lid of the pressure cooker (in my pressure cooker I leave it for 10 seconds at max then I turn off the heat and in 20 minutes the cuttlefish are ready)
- Normal pot -> Close the lid and lower the heat, letting it simmer for 30 minutes until the cuttlefish is fork-tender.
- Add the lemon juice, bring to a boil and then add the spinach to the pot little by little until it fits all.
- Close the lid and as soon as the spinach withers give it another 3-5 min and the food is ready.
- *I do not recommend using frozen spinach for this recipe (or any other recipe for that matter). Although, depending on what country you live in, you might be able to find washed spinach in the refrigerators of supermarkets ready for use.
- You might need to add a little water just before you add the spinach if you cook it in a normal pot.