These sautéed squid strips with garlic, lemon, olive oil and parsley are a very fast and easy to prepare squid recipe that perfectly belongs on a Spanish tapas board. This recipe differs from the usual squid or calamari recipe in that it uses giant squid strips, which in Spain are known as tiras de potón or tiras de pota. The sweetness of the squid, together with the intense aroma of garlic, zesty lemon and fresh parsley all cooked in delicious olive oil is a match made in Spanish flavour heaven.
What are tiras de potón?
If you have been to a larger Spanish supermarket with a fresh fish and seafood section you’ve probably seen tiras de potón. It consist of strips of white meat that looks very similar to that of a squid or calamari. The difference is that pota is a giant squid, belonging to the architeuthidea family which is often found in the Pacific ocean. The taste of the smaller squid is more delicate and flavourful than the one of the giant squid but the latter one is remarkably cheaper in price.
Which ingredients to use
- Giant squid strips: This recipe uses tiras de potón or tiras de pota, which can be found in the larger supermarkets in Spain. I used the defrosted potón for this recipe but you can use the frozen ones as well.
- Olive oil: To sautée the squid strips and the garlic for the perfect Spanish taste.
- Garlic: Using finely sliced garlic instead of minced gives the dish a hint of garlic but one that is not too pronounced. One clove of garlic is enough for this dish to bring all the ingredients and flavours in balance.
- Parsley: Chopped fresh parsley finishes off the dish.
- Lemon: A dash of lemon juice brings freshness and elevates the taste.
Can I use frozen squid strips?
When you have frozen squid strips, make sure they are thawed before making this recipe. Either leave to slowly thaw in the fridge overnight or place them in a bowl of cold water. Make sure they are properly padded dry with paper towel in order to remove any excess moisture.
How to prepare squid strips
This squid recipe is fairly easy to prepare with minimal ingredients. The key is to bring as much flavour as possible into the dish and to make the flesh as soft, tender and yummy as possible. Here are some tips to follow to make the best squid strips with garlic and lemon.
- Cut in bite-size pieces: Depending on the thickness of the original cut of the squid strips, cut into bit-size pieces of about 1/5 inches or 1/2 cm thickness and a length of 1 inches or 2,5 cm. This will make them easier to sautée in the pan and to then eat as a Spanish tapas dish.
- Moisture: Make sure to remove the excess moisture from the squid before cooking, especially when using defrosted squid.
- Cook on high heat: The key to not ending up with rubbery squid is to cook for a shorter time on high heat. The total amount of cooking time will depend on the thickness of the strips. General rule is more or less to cook each side about 2 minutes.
- Seasoning: Don’t over-season! This dish only needs a small pinch of salt and pepper, just to lift the flavour. Lemon juice is optional but adds a nice amount of freshness to the dish. The main seasoning is the garlic and fresh parsley.
How to serve
This dish can be served as a typical Spanish tapas dish or as an appetizer together with a glass of Spanish white wine. Add extra lemon wedges and french loaf or baguette to the side.
Tiras de poton al ajillo
- 12 ounces (or 350 grams) giant squid strips or tiras de potón
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic finely sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the squid strips into slices of 0.2 inches or ½ cm thickness and a length about 1 inches or 2.5 cm. Peel the garlic and cut into very fine slices.
- Heat some olive oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium-low heat, then add the garlic slices and fry for 2 minutes until the garlic starts to turn light golden. Make sure the garlic does not get burnt as it will become bitter in taste.
- Turn up the heat, add the squid strips and sautée for a maximum of 4 minutes (both sides) on medium to high heat. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Toss well to coat with the olive oil and lemon juice. At the end of the cooking, add the chopped fresh parsley leaves, toss to coat and serve warm.
- Squid Strips: Don’t overcook the squid strips because they will become rubbery. So depending on the thickness they might need more or less time to cook. Try one to test if the texture is fine and if the squid is properly cooked.
- Garlic: If you don’t want to serve and eat the squid with pieces of garlic, fry the garlic in olive oil for 2 minutes then remove from the oil before adding the squid.