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Photograph by Francoise Nicol

Around the world in 80 dishes No. 65

Spanish rice with squid and lemon

By Alain Ducasse


Ingredients to serve 4

1 squid weighing approximately 300g

3 new onions or spring onions with leaves or 1 white onion

Half a bulb of fennel

Half an unwaxed lemon

4 tablespoons olive oil

300g of round-grain Spanish or Italian rice

50g shelled fresh peas

4 basil leaves

Black pepper

Coarse salt


To prepare the squid, separate the body and the head. Then separate the tentacles and clean out the inside of the body. Rub off the small membranes with coarse salt, then rinse with plenty of water.

Finely slice the tentacles. With a very sharp knife, cut the skin of the body in a lattice pattern then cut it into medium-sized slivers. Set all the squid aside in a cool place.

To prepare the rice, preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Peel and dice the onions. Rinse half a bulb of fennel and dice very finely (brunoise).

Cut half an unwaxed lemon into triangles. Heat an ovenproof dish with 4 tablespoons of olive oil and sweat the diced vegetables and squid tentacles for approximately 2 minutes, stirring.

Add the Italian rice, a pinch of salt, and cook for 2 minutes over a low heat, stirring. Add the lemon triangles and shelled fresh peas, then add approximately 600ml of cold water. Spread the rice evenly over the surface and put in the oven for 20 minutes.

Check the progress of the rice regularly and if it's becoming too dry, add a little water. When it's cooked, the rice should be soft in the centre of the dish and crunchy round the edges.

Then heat a frying pan with a drop of olive oil and sauté the slivers of squid for just 10 seconds. Arrange them over the rice, add 4 basil leaves and a twist of freshly ground black pepper.

Serve nice and hot in the cooking dish.

Taken from 'Nature' by Alain Ducasse (Hardie Grant, £25, hardback).