AT A GLANCE
"Squid take either two minutes or an hour and two minutes to cook to perfection," writes Paula Wolfert. "For this dish, I prefer the slow method. This tagine is excellent with freshly boiled white rice."
|01||To make the chermoula, toast the cumin seeds (not necessary if they are Moroccan) by tossing them in a hot dry pan over a medium heat for about 1 minute. Pound the cumin seeds, garlic and 1 tsp salt to a paste in a mortar. Dilute with the saffron water, then add the spices and olive oil. Toss with the squid, cover and refrigerate.|
|02||About 1¼ hours before serving, set a 25cm flameproof tagine or cazuela (or a heavy-bottomed straight-sided frying pan or sauté pan) over a medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and warm it, then add the onion and cook until soft (5-6 minutes). Add the red capsicum, cover and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the seasoned squid, raise the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until most of the moisture has evaporated.|
|03||Add the tomatoes, sugar, half the lemon juice and half the coriander, season to taste with sea salt and bring to the boil. Lay a sheet of crumpled wet baking paper directly over the contents of the pan, then cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the squid are tender (about 1 hour). Transfer the hot tagine to a wooden surface or a folded tea towel (to prevent cracking).|
|04||Correct the seasoning as necessary with the remaining lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Scatter over the remaining coriander and serve.|
Note Using saffron in the form of saffron water
is economical, and it brings out more of the spice's aroma and
flavour than simply adding a few strands to a dish. So do as many
Moroccan cooks do, and prepare a small jar of saffron water. Dry ½
tsp crumbled saffron strands in a warm (not hot) pan. Crush again,
then soak in 240ml hot water and store in a small jar in the
refrigerator. This will keep for up to a week. For longer storage,
pour the saffron water into a plastic ice cube tray and freeze into
cubes. Once frozen, shake out the cubes and store in a freezer bag.
Each cube will be equivalent to 2 tbsp saffron water or a good
pinch of dried saffron threads.
The Food of Morocco ($65, hbk) by Paula Wolfert is published by Bloomsbury. This recipe has been reproduced with minor GT style changes.