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  • Bute St Seafoodie

Chargrilled Squid, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Rocket

Updated: Mar 6, 2021

"The only thing we have to fear is a giant wheelchair-crushing squid. Well... uh... actually, I guess that's the only thing I have to fear."

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945)

Another genius seafoodie dish which is hardly unexpected given it came more-or-less straight out of the "J. Sheekey FISH" cookbook. Squid is bang in season right now on the south coast of England and, whereas in so many years I blink and miss its short, winter visit to the market stall, this year I’ve managed to bag them a couple of times and I’m simply telling the truth when I say the squid I’m eating at the moment is sensational.

Sheekey’s recipe is such a simple number to create for a quite stylish dinner party starter in my view - provided you're willing to be cooking the squid just before serving – as the warm tomato salad it sits upon can be prepared in advance and the rest is just a rapid sear and carve of squid and an assembly with a garnish of very simply dressed rocket. But it could equally be sized up to make a light and healthy low-carb lunch or supper.

I've replaced the pancetta in Sheekey's recipe with some marinated Kalamata olives to make for a fully-pescatarian meal, though I wouldn’t mind trying it with some top-quality salted anchovies as an alternative. The oregano I feel really is the right herb for this dish and having tried both dried and fresh, the fresh item is without doubt just the thing - but then it would be, Sheekey said it was!

This recipe is written to be served as a starter, not least because chargrilling large quantities of squid is a bit of a challenge to do well. But doubling up the quantities in order to serve two as a main or four as a starter should be no problem at all.

As said above the warm tomato salad can be made ahead and reheated close to serving time, where a dash of water may help to loosen the cooled mixture. Since cherry tomatoes can vary in their levels of sweetness and tartness they sometimes need a little helping hand and, if you feel that the warm tomato salad needs a bit of a boost, a dash or two of balsamic would do the job and fit very well here. However, I for one, always find that tomatoes of all kinds love a good pinch of salt.

Chargrilled Squid, Cherry Tomatoes, Olives and Rocket

Ingredients (Serves 2 as a starter)

175g squid, cleaned and left in large pieces

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus a little extra for the squid and the rocket

1 small garlic glove, finely chopped

120g cherry tomatoes, halved (small ones are best)

Balsamic vinegar, a dash or two (optional, see recipe intro)

½ tsp chopped fresh oregano leaves

8-10 Kalamata olives, pitted and halved

Smoked paprika, 2 good pinches

2 spring onions, sliced thinly

30-40g rocket, washed

Lemon juice, for dressing the rocket

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put the 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil and the chopped garlic in a pan and bring up to a heat at which the garlic starts to fry. Add the cherry tomatoes, oregano, olives, balsamic vinegar (if using) and smoked paprika and cook over a low-medium heat for around 5 minutes, stirring regularly until the tomatoes soften and start to become pulpy. Remove from the heat, stir in most of the spring onions, cover and leave until ready to serve.

  2. Heat a ridged grill pan to a very high temperature. Season the squid with salt and freshly ground black pepper and coat with a thin film of the oil. Sear on each side for 1 minute then leave to rest, covered for 2 or 3 minutes.

  3. While the squid is resting re-warm the tomatoes gently and, in a bowl, dress the rocket to taste with extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  4. Carve the squid into thick slices and tentacle pieces. Stir the remaining spring onion slices into the tomatoes and olives then divide them between 2 plates, arrange the squid pieces on top and finish with a clump of the dressed rocket. Serve straight away.


  1. "J. Sheekey FISH", Allan Jenkins, Tim Hughes and Howard Sooley (2012), pp. 128:

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