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  • Bute St Seafoodie

Chargrilled Cuttlefish with Wild Garlic Salsa Verde

Updated: Mar 26, 2022

"The classic Italian green sauce, salsa verde, is easy to make and especially nice in the spring when bunches of fresh herbs start appearing in the farmers market or in your garden."

Tom Douglas (1958-)

Everyone who has been reading this blog since it started, will know that at some point around about now in the year I will be offering a recipe featuring cuttlefish and wild garlic. Well, here it is and it may not be the last for the season.

The wild garlic started appearing in the markets a couple of weeks ago, again somewhat earlier in the year than it used to even just a few years ago. Likewise the first catches of cuttlefish for the short season were on sale at the Bute Street stall.

I wanted to do something straightforward with these ingredients and you can't get simpler than something grilled with a simple sauce. As well as a soup, a pesto and a salsa verde are both go-to creations for wild garlic lovers and eligible candidates for the job. Feeling I had a preference for the latter I knew that I could rely on my veg-box supplier, Riverford, to have a recipe on their website for a wild garlic salsa verde and indeed theirs is the one I have employed with only a few modifications.

Quite simply, the wild garlic takes the place of the basil that would play the starring role in a traditional salsa verde recipe, and the resulting assertiveness and piquancy is absolutely ideal to play partner alongside the confident character of the cuttlefish.

This is the sort of plate of food that I cannot stop eating. It can be served as a light and healthy main or be included as part of a spread of small plates.

The main alteration I have made to Riverford's salsa verde recipe is to exclude the garlic clove in favour for a significantly greater quantity of the wild garlic. This salsa verde could be used with any grilled or pan-fried fish. I've very much enjoyed it with pan-fried fillets of gurnard, but consider bream, squid and red or grey mullet, for example. It would also work wonderfully on a roasted skate wing. Note that the salsa verde can be made ahead of time and will keep in the fridge for several days but, for this recipe, it should be brought to room temperature before it dresses the cuttlefish.

The quantity of cuttlefish is really quite flexible. The salsa verde recipe is sufficient for 500-750g cuttlefish which will serve 4-6 as a light main course or roughly double that number if served as part of a spread of small plates. Although, on the occasion I took the photograph of this dish, I only used the body section of the cuttlefish (that's was what I had to hand), the tentacles are very welcome and, in my view, should certainly be included if available. As an alternative, the cuttlefish can be grilled under a very hot grill or, if the weather allows (as it certainly does just at the moment), on the very hot bars of a barbeque - that's the ultimate!

Chargrilled Cuttlefish with Wild Garlic Salsa Verde

Ingredients (Serves 2 as a light main course or 4 as part of a spread of small plates)

250g cuttlefish, cleaned, body cut into 'steaks', tentacles left whole (if using)

Olive oil (not extra virgin), or sunflower or vegetable oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

A few squeezes of lemon juice

Lemon wedges, to serve

For the salsa verde (makes enough for 4-6 servings, see recipe intro):

50g wild garlic, leaves only, washed and coarsely chopped

1½ tbsp capers, rinsed and drained

10g flat leaf parsley (weight after removing coarse stalks), coarsely chopped

2-4 anchovy fillets, to taste

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make sure the cuttlefish is at room temperature before cooking.

  2. For the salsa verde, put the wild garlic, capers, parsley, anchovies and red wine vinegar into the container of a blender and blend to a paste. If the blender has hole through which the oil can be added then drizzle the olive oil into the salsa while the motor is running. If not, transfer the salsa to a bowl and gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season generously with the pepper, but note that the amount of salt required will depend on how many anchovies have been included. Ensure the salsa verde is at room temperature before dressing the cuttlefish.

  3. Heat a grill-pan until smoking. Season the cuttlefish pieces and coat with a thin film of oil. Place the cuttlefish on the grill-pan (in batches if necessary) and sear for 1 min either side (perhaps a little longer if particularly thick). For the last 10 seconds or so of the cooking time, drizzle a little lemon juice over the cuttlefish. Transfer to a dish and cover loosely with foil to allow to rest for 5 mins. If cooking in batches repeat with the remaining cuttlefish.

  4. To serve, carve the cuttlefish into bite-sized pieces, transfer to a serving plate and dress with the wild garlic salsa verde. Present the dish with lemon wedges for drizzling. Extra salsa verde can be served on the side.


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