The editor and I picked up some squid at the last Hampshire Farmers’ Market and cooked something so simple, satisfying and scrumptious I would like to share the recipe with you. It is a great way of serving barely-grilled squid.
As you need to hardly grill the squid (incredibly important that you don’t overcook it) it is also a good thing to serve to timid eaters. This is because you’ll both be serving them serious scoff to and also worrying the willies out of them with food outside their depressingly narrow comfort zone. Hooray for getting people to explore new food!
All you need are about 10 cleaned squid complete with tentacles, 150-ish ml of olive oil, the juice of half a lemon, a handful of chopped parsley, a bit more than a handful of watercress[ref]Naturally you will want to use Alresford watercress. Since it is grown just down the road from me and is Hampshire’s finest, it is also unquestionably the best watercress in the world![/ref], a finely chopped clove or two of garlic and half a green chilli also finely chopped. You’ll need some oil for deep-frying the tentacles as well.
Warm up the deep-frying oil to approximately 170°C and heat up a grill pan over a medium heat for a few minutes until properly hot. While these are warming chop the heads and tentacles off the squid, keeping them, and cut the mantles[ref]I did an invertebrates course as part of my first degree and I think this is the first time I’ve used that terminology outside of the degree. How useless most of the knowledge we acquire is…[/ref] of the squid lengthwise in half. Then score the outside of the mantles a few times diagonally. Brush them on each side with a little olive oil. Now you are ready to cook.
Dump all your heads complete with tentacles into the hot deep-frying oil. Leave them bubbling whilst you stick the squid mantles scored side down on the scorching hot grill pan for about 90 seconds. They might curl up a bit, but that’s fine. After they’ve been seared on one side flip them over and grill the other side for about a minute more. Take them off the heat. Whip the tentacles out of the deep fryer and allow to drain.
Cut each bit of squid into 2-3 strips so each one is 2-3cm across, then put them in the olive oil, watercress, parsley, lemon, garlic and chilli. Give it all a good mix and let infuse for a couple of minutes.
This will make enough to do two solid diners as a light meal – just dish it up into bowls and get noshing. I think this is so easy to make it’d be dead simple to knock up at the start of a hearty meal as a small starter for possibly as many as four. The important thing is it is a wonderfully tasty dish that will satisfy both with its flavours and combination of textures it presents.
I love squid. I want to invite some lovely people who aren’t timid eaters around and make this for them; it’s even better for satisfying the sophisticated than scaring the silly.