How to Make Grilled Cuttlefish: A Delicious Spanish Delicacy


Grilled cuttlefish, known as “sepia a la plancha” in Spanish, is a mouthwatering dish that originates from the coastal regions of Spain. This simple yet flavorful recipe has gained popularity not only in Spain but also around the world. In this article, we will explore the step-by-step process of making sepia a la plancha, along with some interesting facts and tips to enhance your culinary experience.

The Delightful World of Sepia a la Plancha

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s take a moment to understand what sepia a la plancha is and why it has become a beloved dish in Spanish cuisine.

Sepia, also known as cuttlefish, is a marine mollusk that belongs to the same family as squids and octopuses. It has a unique flavor and a tender texture that makes it a perfect candidate for grilling. The dish is typically prepared by marinating the cuttlefish in a blend of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and spices, and then grilling it to perfection.

Grilled cuttlefish is a staple in coastal regions of Spain, especially in Catalonia and Valencia. It is often enjoyed as a tapa, a small plate served as an appetizer, or as a main course accompanied by a fresh salad or roasted vegetables. The dish is not only delicious but also a great source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.

The Recipe: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we have a good understanding of sepia a la plancha, let’s dive into the recipe and learn how to make this delectable dish at home.


  • 2 fresh cuttlefish, cleaned and prepared
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley for garnish


  1. Start by cleaning the cuttlefish. Remove the head, tentacles, and internal organs, and peel off the skin. Rinse the cuttlefish under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, minced garlic, lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper. Mix well to create a marinade.
  3. Place the cleaned cuttlefish in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over it. Make sure the cuttlefish is well coated with the marinade. Cover the dish and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat.
  5. Remove the cuttlefish from the marinade and shake off any excess. Place the cuttlefish on the preheated grill and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side, or until it turns opaque and slightly charred.
  6. Once cooked, remove the cuttlefish from the grill and let it rest for a few minutes.
  7. Slice the grilled cuttlefish into thin strips and garnish with fresh parsley.
  8. Serve the sepia a la plancha hot with a squeeze of lemon juice and enjoy!

Now that you have mastered the art of making sepia a la plancha, let’s explore some tips and tricks to take your dish to the next level.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Sepia a la Plancha

Grilling cuttlefish may seem simple, but there are a few key tips that can make a significant difference in the final result. Here are some expert tips to help you achieve the perfect sepia a la plancha:

  • Choose fresh cuttlefish: Freshness is crucial when it comes to seafood. Look for cuttlefish that has a firm texture, a mild smell, and bright, clear eyes.
  • Marinate for optimal flavor: Marinating the cuttlefish not only adds flavor but also helps tenderize the meat. Allow the cuttlefish to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but no more than 2 hours, to avoid overpowering the delicate taste.
  • Preheat the grill: Make sure your grill is preheated to medium-high heat before placing the cuttlefish on it. This will ensure that the cuttlefish cooks evenly and develops a nice charred exterior.
  • Don’t overcook: Cuttlefish has a delicate texture, and overcooking can result in a rubbery consistency. Keep a close eye on the cuttlefish while grilling and remove it from the heat as soon as it turns opaque.
  • Experiment with spices: While the traditional recipe calls for smoked paprika, feel free to experiment with other spices and herbs to suit your taste. Some popular options include cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme.


1. Can I use frozen cuttlefish for this recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen cuttlefish if fresh cuttlefish is not available. Thaw the cuttlefish thoroughly before cleaning and marinating it.

2. Can I substitute cuttlefish with squid?

While cuttlefish and squid belong to the same family, they have slightly different textures and flavors. However, you can certainly use squid as a substitute if cuttlefish is not readily available.

Sepia a la plancha pairs well with a variety of side dishes. Some popular options include roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, fresh salads, or a side of crusty bread.

4. Can I cook cuttlefish on a stovetop instead of a grill?

Absolutely! If you don’t have access to a grill, you can cook cuttlefish on a stovetop using a grill pan or a regular frying pan. Simply heat the pan over medium-high heat and cook the cuttlefish for the same amount of time as mentioned in the recipe.

5. How long can I store leftover sepia a la plancha?

Leftover sepia a la plancha can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, it is best enjoyed fresh.





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