Grilled squid with rocket and romesco

Grilled squid with rocket and romesco

My Favourite Ingredients
Jason Lowe

Romesco is one of the great nut-based sauces of Spain. We serve it in all sorts of ways – with simple grilled meats or game; seafood such as sautéed prawns with wilted spinach; even scattered over grilled spicy chorizo with a handful of lightly dressed rocket. Romesco can be based on almonds alone but adding hazelnuts gives the sauce a more complex flavour. It is best used on the day it is made.


Quantity Ingredient
500g small squid, with tentacles
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
40ml olive oil


Quantity Ingredient
small handful mint, leaves only
small handful basil, leaves only
generous handful rocket leaves
1 lemon, juiced
50-60ml extra virgin olive oil


Quantity Ingredient
50g shelled almonds
30g shelled hazelnuts
2 ripe tomatoes
1 large red chilli
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 tablespoon good-quality red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons fresh course white breadcrumbs
100ml extra virgin olive oil

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
lemon wedges


  1. To clean the squid, hold the body with one hand and pull out the head with the tentacles attached, using the other hand; most of the innards will come too. Peel off the skin at the same time. Cut the tentacles from the head, discarding the head, eyes and hard beak. Remove the transparent quill from the body and the soft gooey matter. Rinse the body pouch and tentacles gently under cold running water, drain and set aside in a cool place.
  2. For the romesco, preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the nuts on a baking tray and roast on the middle oven shelf for 5–6 minutes until evenly golden. Tip the hot nuts into a clean dry cloth and rub to remove the skins. Place the tomatoes and chilli on a baking tray and roast for about 10 minutes, turning halfway through cooking, until the tomatoes are slightly coloured and bursting from their skins, and the chilli is soft – it might take an extra minute or two.
  3. Put the garlic and a pinch of salt into a large mortar and crush with the pestle to a rough paste, then add the chilli and crush. Add the roasted nuts and pound until the paste is fairly smooth, but still retains some texture. Add the tomatoes and paprika and continue to pound, but more gently now. Stir in the wine vinegar, breadcrumbs and finally the extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste and set aside.
  4. For the salad, wash the herb and salad leaves, pat dry and place in a large bowl. Drizzle over the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss lightly to combine.
  5. Heat one large or two smaller non-stick frying pans over a fairly high heat. Season the squid well all over and add a little olive oil to the pan(s). Once the oil is hot, add the squid being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook undisturbed for 1 minute, then turn and cook for a minute on the other side.
  6. Tip the squid into the bowl of dressed leaves and toss to combine the flavours. Arrange on warm plates and crumble over the romesco. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges for squeezing.
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