Nigella’s Flash-Fried Squid with Tomato and Tequila Salsa

Nigella’s Flash-Fried Squid with Tomato and Tequila Salsa

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So Part 5 of my Christmas cookbook series had to go to Nigella Lawson, and a recipe from her brilliant book At My Table. I know so many people who watched the TV series that accompanied the book, which was brilliant by the way, and as always Nigella can do no wrong. My only fear with writing a blog where Nigella is the topic, is that I just don’t have the same extensive vocabulary as her by any stretch, but on the slim chance this happens to be read by her I hope she would anoint it with her blessing!

I have been wanting to cook squid on the grill for a long time, and if you’ve been thinking the same then this recipe is for you! It is such a classic way to cook squid, and the twist, because there’s always a twist, is in the presentation. Served on a bed of fresh rocket with its’ crisp pepperyness, and topped with a fresh and zingy Tomato & Tequilla salsa, this dish is a perfect sharing starter plate, or as a light lunch with a glass of crisp white wine on one of those lazy summer days that are surely around the corner…

I bought the squid whole from my fishmonger and prepared them myself. If you’d like to give this a go but would like some pointers check out this short video from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. But if time is short, or you’d rather have someone else do it, just ask your fishmonger to prepare it for you.


For the salsa

  • 50g red onion, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 tbsp tequilla
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 250g tomatoes (approx 3 regular-sized), de-seeded and cut into small dice
  • 1 fresh jalapeno chilli, de-seeded and finely diced
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

For the squid

  • 700g squid (cleaned weight) – whole, cleaned, tubes and tentacles
  • 3 tbsp cold-pressed rapeseed oil, plus 2 tbsp for the wok
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt flakes
  • a good grinding of freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely diced (I love using a microplane)

To serve

  • rocket leaves


  1. Tip the diced onion into a small bowl and pour the tequila and lime juice over over. Stir well and tamp down a little. Leave it to steep for at least 15 minutes. In a separate bowl stir the tomatoes, jalapenos and red chilli. Set aside.
  2. Prepare the squid per the video if you’re doing it yourself, and cut the scored squid tubes into approximately 5cm squares. Put into a bowl with the tentacles and add 3 tbsps of the oil, along with the salt, pepper and garlic. Give it a good stir to ensure it’s all evenly coated and you’re ready to go!
  3. Preheat your BBQ for a 250c direct grilling heat with a heavy gauge wok set above it. Close the lid and open the vents as appropriate.
  4. Working in batches, drop the scored squid tubes into the wok – it doesn’t matter which way up they land – and let them cook over a high heat, turning them regularly with tongs, for about 2 minutes, or until they have lost their translucency and are just cooked through. The pieces will curl up with a very visible diamond pattern. With the heat of the wok in the BBQ they may cook a little faster and they will gain a lovely level of caramelisation that only adds to the flavour!
  5. Transfer the batches to a bowl as you go. Once all these pieces are cooked, add the tentacles to the pan and fry, stirring regularly, until curly and cooked through.
  6. Scatter the rocket on a serving platter. Combine the salsa elements together, taste and season with salt as necessary. Tumble the cooked squid pieces onto the carpet of rocket and sprinkling a little of the salsa on the top. Serve the remaining salsa on the side.

This is a wonderfully uncomplicated recipe and if you haven’t dared to cook squid at home before, take this as your call to action! If you don’t feel you could prepare the squid yourself, go see your local fishmonger, and while you’re there get them to show you how they prepare it so you know for the next time. They may even let you have a go, or you could take an extra one home to practice on while it’s still fresh in your mind.

Verdict: Whether you’re looking for a burst of sunshine on a dark wintery day, or a light dinner option for those long hazy days of summer, this recipe has to go into your repertoire! If you’re dazzling friends with your barbecue culinary skills, or just short on time but still want something clean and fresh, this dish has it all!

Thanks Nigella x

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