Prawn, squid ink and bacon paella

Neil Perry
Paint it black: Prawn, squid ink and bacon paella.
Paint it black: Prawn, squid ink and bacon paella. Photo: William Meppem

The addition of squid ink puts a spin on a Spanish paella. Make sure you use a smoky bacon. Octopus can be easily substituted for the squid, if desired. Don't stir the paella once cooking has begun - the crust that forms on the bottom of the pan is the best bit, and well worth fighting over.


50ml extra virgin olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

sea salt

8 small squid tubes, cleaned and cut into 5mm-thick slices

4 rashers of smoked bacon, cut into 5mm dice

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tsp smoky hot paprika

2 tbsp squid ink

1 tbsp tomato paste

300g paella rice

1.25 litres chicken stock (check gluten-free if required)

8 medium king prawns, peeled

4 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped

freshly ground pepper

aioli, to serve


Heat the olive oil in a paella pan or a heavy-based frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and a little sea salt and gently cook for a few minutes.

Add the squid and bacon and stir through for 3-4 minutes. Add the chilli flakes, paprika, squid ink and tomato paste, stir through, then add the rice and chicken stock. Stir and bring to a simmer.

Add the prawns and fold through, then leave to cook for 20 minutes, or until liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat, cover with a tea towel to keep warm and allow to rest for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle with parsley and give a good grind of pepper. Serve with aioli on the side.


Photography by William Meppem. Food styling by Hannah Meppem. Food preparation by Nick Banbury.