Thursday, July 25, 2013


Rob’s Squid with chilli & mint (serves 4 as a starter)

You will need:

4 medium size squid, cleaned and cut into large bite sized pieces, or rings
Juice of 11/2 large lemons
Large bunch of mint roughly chopped
2 fresh chillies, finely chopped, seeds and all - this is supposed to be hot. 
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 shot glass of Pernod, Ouzo, Ricard or any aniseed spirit
Rock salt & black pepper
Crusty bread or Ciabatta to accompany

This is a squid dish for those that like to be smacked around the head with flavour. It isn’t subtle; it’s hot and salty and you treat it like knocking back a shot of vodka. You can’t be delicate because it’s rustic like an Italian dish eaten al fresco in the sunshine. I have found when people try cooking this they tend to be shy regarding the amount of chilli, garlic and Pernod they’re throwing at it. Be brave and really go for it! Also, fennel & aniseed complements seafood very well, hence the Pernod!

Cut up the bread and put in a basket on the table. Get four bowls warmed and ready, because this will only take a couple of minutes.

Get a frying pan properly hot and put in a good glug of olive oil. Throw in the chilli & garlic and shake the pan. Before the garlic burns throw in the squid and shake the pan again or stir with a long handled spoon. Get the pepper mill and grind some black pepper over it. Now, lots of liquid is coming out of the squid. This is good, trust me. Get the Pernod (or similar) and have yourself a shot, after all, this is fun stuff and you’ve got to be relaxed about it! It also sets the palate and will give you a perfect background to the squid when you get to it. If you’re feeling generous - let your guests have one too! Now, get a good pinch or two of the rock salt and throw it in. Don’t overcook the squid, but give it a minute in the pan, then add the lemon juice immediately followed by the mint (all of it). Give it a final stir, taste it and season accordingly. You’ll know when it’s ready, because you’ll go ‘wow!’ If it isn’t, add more lemon juice, salt or chilli. If that has taken over three minutes, it’s overcooked, so be quick!

Serve in bowls and make sure you share out all that juice - you’ll be dipping your bread in it at the end.  


My husband likes to ‘invent’ dishes and this is one he conjured up about 3 or 4 years ago. He tested it out on us (me and our three children - his willing guinea-pigs!), adjusting the chilli for the youngest members. Guess what? We loved it! We beg him to make it for us on a regular basis (especially when the sun is shining, it seems to taste even more magnificent then!). It’s also a real hit with friends, served either as a starter or a main and accompanied, of course, by a glass of wine. 

Born and bred in the sunny seaside town of Brighton, one of the first literary conundrums SHANI STRUTHERS had to deal with was her own name – Shani can be pronounced in a variety of ways but in this instance it’s Shay-nee not Shar-ney or Shan-ni – although she does indeed know a Shanni – just to confuse matters further! Hobbies include reading, writing, eating and drinking – all four of which keep her busy enough. After graduating from university with a degree in English and American Literature, Shani became a freelance copywriter. Twenty years later, the day job includes writing novels too. Her debut novel The Runaway Year was released on 2nd July 2013 from Omnific Publishing. 

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  1. Can we substitute with chicken? I've never been brave enough to try squid.

  2. Well, that is definitely unique! I've never tried to cook squid either. I bet my hubs would love this dish - but I bet I would screw it up!

  3. I actually love calamari, and I never knew how to go about cooking anything it. I'll have to give this one a shot. Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  4. I think I've only had squid fried - fried calamari - but I will have to try this dish! I like the fact that it's spicy!

  5. I will have to show my mom this recipe. She makes a squid dish that is marinated in soy sauce, vinegar and a bay leaf. They puts it on top of rice. It's a Filipino dish that is delicious! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I can't wait to try it!

  6. The only squid I've ever had was deep-fried but I would definitely try this recipe! I Thanks for sharing, Shani! :)

  7. I meant to post this yesterday - Shani, I love challenging recipes with unique ingredients! This looks really interesting and makes me think of southern Italy. Now, where's Marco? :-)

  8. Hi all, sorry late to the party but am so glad recipe well received - it really is worth trying - my family and friends can't get enough of it! Janine I asked my husband re chicken and he said he didn't think it would translate well, but, if you're not keen on squid, you can use finely sliced fresh tuna instead? Cookery is all about being adventurous tho, so if you do try it with chicken, let me know what its like! Thanks Tracie for featuring our family recipe! xxx