Croatian summer story, part II : Sautéed squids in wine sauce

This year summer started late and ended ever faster. I arrived at the coast the same time as every year, only this time I had to leave earlier.

My mornings were mostly occupied by long breakfast followed by an hour on the beach, until time to prepare lunch, just before the scorching sun gets high on the horizon.

Here in Croatia, in the coastal region above all, the main food are fish and other seafood. Everything a fisherman catches in his net during the night or in the early morning when the sea is still calm, feeds him and his family. All of the catch is welcome and non of it is wasted.

I remember the time my grandmother and elderly ladies from the village would gather and sit on the porch talking about which man from the village was going uligne or squid hunt in the evening. If the hunt was successful, a simple meal would be made: the squids would be baked on the stove with potatoes and chard or prepared with white wine in a risotto.

My mother would always prepare them the simplest way. Tender and sweet, we serve the sautéed squids with a good portion of cooked swiss chard from the garden and a generous gulp of aromatic olive oil. For us, this meal is one of the highlights of summer cuisine.

Sautéed squids in white wine sauce

Makes enough for 2-4 people


500 – 800g of fresh squids or calamari
2 spoons of olive oil
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 glass of white wine

handful hopped parsley
salt and pepper


Remove the squid’s interiors, rinse it under tap water and dry.

Chop the onion and garlic clove. Heat the olive oil in the pan, sauté the onion and garlic until onions are translucent.

Add the squids, sprinkle them with a bit of salt and cover the pan with a lid. It is important not to open the lid. Shake the pan vigorously not letting the squids stick to the bottom. They will release their own juices and cook. When you start hearing the squids pop, they are almost done. Splash with a glass of wine and let it cook for another two minutes. Shake well the pan and turn off the heat. Sprinkle with black pepper and chopped parsley.

Serve with steamed swiss chard and cooked potatoes drizzled with olive oil.