Nigel Slater's midweek dinner: grilled squid, chillies and rocket

13 May 2012

The recipe

Remove the head and tentacles from four medium-sized prepared squid and set aside. Slice the body sacks down one side and open them out flat. Score the surface of each piece in a crisscross fashion with a knife, cutting only about halfway through the flesh. Set aside with the tentacles. Get an overhead grill hot. Slice two medium-sized hot chillies down their length, remove the seeds then slice finely and put them in a bowl. Stir in 3 tbsp of olive oil and a little salt. Toss the squid and the chillies then tip them into a grill pan lined with foil and cook under the overhead grill for a couple of minutes until the squid is opaque and the chillies are starting to colour here and there. Toss a couple of handfuls of rocket in a little fruity olive oil, then divide between two plates. Add the squid and chillies and season. Serves 2.

The trick

Cook your squid for only a minute or two. Any longer and it will toughen. Keep the heat high. Check the chillies for their heat level before cooking. Remove the seeds, as they will only toughen under the grill, doing nothing for your dinner.

The twist

A bowl of mayonnaise is rather good as an accompaniment, ditto half a lemon to squeeze over. Blanched green beans can be tossed with the rocket, along with the inner leaves of a little gem lettuce, a bunch of watercress or some cherry tomatoes. Roasted peppers, skinned and sliced, can be mixed with the chillies. Best of all might be a handful of garlic croutons, fried in olive oil and scattered over at the last minute. If you are looking for a more substantial accompaniment, try crisp, grilled polenta.

Email Nigel at nigel.slater@observer.co.uk or visit guardian.co.uk/profile/nigelslater for all his recipes in one place

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2012

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