Cuttlefish Stew, Wild Garlic and Hazelnut Pesto

Cuttlefish stew, wild garlic and hazelnut pesto

serves 4 as a main

Cuttlefish is a great catch. Completely under-utilised in the UK, but incredibly sustainable, and also incredibly versatile as an ingredient. Why are we not eating more?

Get your fishmonger to do the messy work of cleaning the cuttlefish, and removing the ink sack. Cook Cuttlefish super quick on a scorching hot barbecue or braise it gently until tender, anything in-between can be on the chewy side.


For the cuttlefish stew
600-800g cuttlefish, cleaned and cut into equal size chunks
200g smoked streaky bacon, cut into lardons
1 white onion, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 red chilli, chopped
3 celery sticks, washed and thinly sliced
2 tsp chopped rosemary
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
400ml red wine
100ml red wine vinegar
150g baby spinach, washed
1 handful of curly parsley, washed and finely chopped
light olive oil for cooking

For the pesto
1 handful of wild garlic leaves, washed
150g skinned and roasted hazelnuts
50g grated parmesan
200ml olive oil
Cornish sea salt


To make the stew, start by frying the cuttlefish in olive oil for 3 minutes, then add the bacon and until golden brown. Remove from the heat and drain the cuttlefish and bacon in a colander to remove any excess fat. 

In a large saucepan warm some olive oil and fry the onion, garlic, chilli and celery until it just starts to colour, then add the rosemary, tomatoes, red wine and red wine vinegar. Add the cuttlefish and bacon back to the pan and cover with water so everything is submerged. Bring to the simmer and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. When the cuttlefish is tender, check the seasoning and adjust if required. Leave the stew to one side, off the heat to rest while you make the pesto.

To make the pesto, place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz for 30-60 seconds. Taste for seasoning.

Warm the stew up and serve in bowls. Finish with a liberal spoonful of the pesto, and a drizzle of olive oil. Some boiled potatoes or buttery mash alongside would not go amiss.


“For me, great seafood dishes are defined by their simplicity and respect for the seafood.”