Spectacular Squid Starter

Blanched squid pieces mixed with lemon zest and juice, olive oil, black olives and capers, this one tastes fresh and light and zingy and looks spectacular. It’s flexible too, making either a wonderful summer starter or an addition to any tapas or buffet-style lunch or dinner. It’s also fantastically easy, but what makes it really perfect for entertaining are the magical words: ‘marinate overnight before serving’. Yes!!!! You can do all the work the night before, store it in an airtight container in the fridge and then once your guests are ready, just tip it out into a pretty serving dish, on which you’ve strewn some salad leaves, and that’s it. Your guests will be thrilled and amazed (and probably think you cheated).

To serve four people as a starter, and more as a buffet dish, you will need:

600g / 1 1/4 lb squid

3 x lemons

2 tbsp capers, rinsed

3 x garlic cloves, finely sliced

Some whole black peppercorns

A handful of black olives

100ml olive oil

First, blanch your squid. Boil a pan of water, then throw in some salt, followed by the squid. (Mine is usually frozen and thawed.) Blanch it for just 30 seconds until the squid goes white, then drain and run under the cold tap.

Peel four or five strips of lemon zest and juice your lemons.

Mix the squid, lemon juice and zest with the rest of the ingredients, place in an airtight container and marinate overnight in the fridge. Take it out an hour or so before serving to take the chill off.

As your guests arrive, pour yourself a drink, talk about the weather and look marvellously in control, then simply tip the squid onto a dish of leaves (baby spinach, rocket, endives (chicory), lamb’s lettuce – whatever you fancy, really) and, if you like, serve with extra lemon wedges. And perhaps some crusty bread.

Enjoy!!

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