Baby Squid Stew

Recipe n. 40

Back to Sicilian repertoire!

I inherited this delicious recipe from my mom’s cooking. To give her full credit, I should use the same ‘vocabulary’ she uses to describe the way this food needs to be cooked: ‘A tutto dentro’. There is not an easy way to translate this expression into english and it really doesn’t make much sense in italian either. Every time she uses it,  my sister and I can’t help smiling and tease my mom. What do you mean with a tutto dentro???  Literally it means ‘everything inside’. I believe it is a cooking expression used mostly in the Southern area of Italy. Basically all the ingredients go in one pot and cook slowly!

With this system the nourishing proprieties of what is cooking  inside the pot won’t be lost.

© 2016 Field of Flavors – All Rights Reserved


© 2016 Field of Flavors – All Rights Reserved



  • 1 lb fresh seppioline (or calamaretti)

  • 1 onion (thinly sliced or chopped)

  • 1 bottle tomato sauce ( 750 ml)

  • 2 tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 3 tbsp fish broth (or water) or white wine

  • pinch hot chilly pepper

  • salt and pepper

  • Olive oil

  • fresh chopped basil at the end to garnish on top

  •  slices of tasted country bread to accompany the dish


© 2016 Field of Flavors – All Rights Reserved


Rinse the seppioline under cold water and let them rest in the fridge in a colander. In a large pot add some olive oil and gently sauté the onions until translucent. Add the seppioline, tomato paste, bay leaf, hot chilli pepper. Cook for 1 or 2 minutes and then add the liquid of your choice (broth, water or wine). Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the tomato  sauce. Cover and simmer slowly for 30 to 45 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh chopped basil leaves and serve with toasted country bread on the side.

Buon appetito!



Recipe n.33

I’m very happy  to share this recipe with you, as it is the result of pure improvisation from an evening a few years ago. I was trying to decide what to make for dinner for my family. I started to put together several ingredients to try to please everybody’s palate and it turned out to be a hit!  Since then I have been making this dish quite often and I always get the same positive feedback.


© 2016 Iose’ Cocuzza All Rights ReservedIMG_6791



© 2016 Iose’ Cocuzza All Rights ReservedIMG_6796


Ingredients for 4 people

  • 500g pasta (any short type of your choice – I prefer to use wholewheat pasta)

  • 1 medium yellow onion

  • 1 fennel bulb+stalk thinly sliced

  • 4 to 5 ounces of smoked salmon

  • 12 mushrooms ( I like to use either crimini or shiitake mushrooms)

  • Lemon zest (from 1 lemon)

  • Fresh dill

  • Olive oil

  • 1/4 cup of white wine

  • Salt and Pepper


Bring a medium size pot with water to boil for the pasta.  In a large pan sautee the onions and  fennel in olive oil for  a couple of minutes, then add the mushrooms, lemon zest,  and some dill.  Season with salt and pepper. Add the smoked salmon and the white wine keeping  on a medium-hight heat until the wine has evaporated. Add some lemon juice and the reamining dill. Drain and transfer the pasta to a large bowl.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.  Adjust with salt and pepper and enjoy!



Recipe n. 26

Growing up on an island in the mediterannean I ate quite a lot of fish as you can probably imagine. It’s a totally different experience to buy some fish in Sicily compared to New York City.  In the little town where I come from, which is by the sea, una piccola borgata di mare, there are lots of local ‘pescivendoli’. You can smell the fresh fish from a distance and while I know quite a lot of people are bothered by this smell but it gives me a strong sense of connectedness with the sea. In Sicily they would never sell you a ‘fillet’. You have to buy the whole fish, from head to tail, maybe they will clean it a bit for you but that’s about it. I have also noticed that there is a big difference in terms of flavor. The fish from the Atlantic has a milder flavor while the fish from the mediterranean has a much stronger sea flavor and it’s saltier.  Despite these differences, here in New York I feel very lucky to live close by one of the best fish places in town (even if it’s not by the sea) which happens to be in Chelsea Market. This recipe will be ideal if  you want to cook a tasty and easy meal for dinner for your guests, it makes a perfect ‘spaghettata’.

Serves 4


  • 450g  (1 pound) spaghetti or linguine
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Good pinch of dried hot chilli flakes
  • Small bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1kg ( a bit over 2 pounds)  of small clams, scrubbed and degritted
  • 10 cherry tomatoes ( pomodorini pachino)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil and gently sauté the garlic, chilli and half the parsley for a couple of minutes. Add the clams and wine, turn up the heat, then cover. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the clams have opened.

Remove the clams and the juice and set aside. In the same pan add about 4 spoons of olive oil,  the chopped garlic and hot chilli pepper flakes. After the garlic turns gold,  add the cherry tomatoes. Let them cook  for a few minutes and then crush them with a fork. Add the clams, the rest of the parsley and slowly add the juice which you previously cooked with the clams. Let the juice evaporate for a few minutes and then add a sprinkle of wine and keep the heat high. Season with salt and pepper. Toss in all the spaghetti with the clams and the juices and the remaining parsley.



Recipe n. 13

There is a small town in Sicily called  San Vito Lo Capo where every year they have a Couscous festival, ‘la sagra del couscous’. Chefs come from countries around the Mediterranean to participate and show original ways of cooking couscous with fish, according to their own traditions. I personally love couscous and I could eat it every day for lunch and dinner without ever getting bored. It’s so versatile and it can go well with meat, fish or vegetables. In San Vito Lo Capo fish is mandatory and if you want to follow the typical Sanvitese way of making this dish it would require a very long time and an elaborate preparation. This involves making couscous with durum wheat, semola, using an ancient technique, called ‘incocciata’ in Sicilian dialect. Couscous is then steamed in a pot made of terracotta, a couscoussière. This is my own semplified version of couscous with fish which probably wouldn’t go very far in the cooking contest in San Vito as I‘m breaking the rules using precooked couscous and using other types of fish, but if you don’t want to spend half your day preparing this dish then this is the way to go and it tastes good too!

The next time I make this dish I promise we’ll go through all the different stages in the traditional way of making it.


  • 1 lb  couscous
  • 1 lb of fresh fish mixture *( I use cod or lemon sole, red snapper and salmon)
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 carrot (optional)
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ onion
  • 1 cup sweet cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Lemon (zest and juice)
  • Fresh Italian flat parsley
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Let’s start with the broth: in a medium stock pot, add the water, carrots, celery, parsley, tomatoes, onion and bay leaf. Bring to  boil and add a small piece of each fish just to let the broth infuse with the flavor of the fish. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. In the meantime in a large skillet add the olive oil and garlic.  Be careful not to burn the garlic. After a minute or so gently place the fish and season with salt and pepper. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, almonds, capers, lemon zest and juice and a few segments if you like too. Add 1 ½ cup of broth, cover and cook  on medium heat for  about 15 minutes. Place the couscous n a large dish or bowl and add a 1 /2 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and place first the fish on top followed by the juice where the fish was cooking and add another cup of broth.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley and cover tight letting the couscous rest for at least 5 minutes. Using a fork be sure to separate the couscous grains from each other to avoid clumps. Add more broth if necessary or if it looks to dry.

*NOTE:  You are supposed to use fish suitable for making broth, but I like to use any sort of  fish. I like to buy wild fish in general. I don’t trust farmed or even organic farmed fish. To me fish always tastes better if it’s caught wild.

Recipe n.11


Here is another fresh and simple recipe that brings me back to Sicily. It’s a dish that my mother used to make for us quite often, especially in the summer time. If I close my eyes I can still smell the fresh fish from the local vendor where my mum still buys her fish every day with the breeze coming up the hill from the sea. It’s a perfect salad to serve as an appetizer during a party or to eat on its own for lunch or dinner. I love how it tastes and how beautifully the colors of the ingredients complement each other.


  • 15  wild squid ( tubes and tentacles)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped small
  • 4 stalks of celery chopped small
  • 2 green onions sliced small
  • ¼ cup fresh Italian flat parsley chopped
  • 2 juicy lemons
  • olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Rinse the squid and place them in a pot with water, bay leaf and a few slices of lemon with its juice. Bring to a boil and cook for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain the water and set aside to cool down. In a large salad bowl  add the carrots, celery and onions. Cut the squid in rings and  put in the bowl with the  tentacles and the rest of the ingredients. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper. Toss well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to let the salad marinate. You can serve it cold or at room temperature.

Buon appetito!

Recipe n.5


I’m not a vegetarian yet, but I’m pretty sure that I will be one day. I believe there is a right time for everything. Your body knows what it needs and doesn’t need. I feel somewhere in between right now as in the past couple of years I unconsciously started to eat less and less meat, preferring to eat fish and more vegetables instead. I know so many people who can’t stand the smell and taste of fish. I grew up on fish so I started to feed Sasha fish since he was very young and found a couple of tricks to make the fish taste ’yummy’. I have been using this recipe over and over, at least once a week, if not more.



  • 1 pound of wild Lemon Sole (but you can use any fish you like)
  • 2 big yams
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for the yams.
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Starting with the yams, wash them thoroughly without peeling them. Cut lengthwise into ½ inch thick fries, or a little less. Arrange them in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil, add a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss them well to be sure that all the pieces are coated in olive oil and put in the oven for about 40 min until they are cooked through and crispy.

Pour the olive oil in a bowl while in another bowl mix together the breadcrumbs, ground flax seeds, sesame seeds, salt and pepper. Dip the fish first into the olive oil and then roll into the breadcrumb mix. Place the fish in a baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 min.  Serve when it’s still hot with a quarter lemon on the side.

Serves 3 to 4 people