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Squid with sweet potato and lemon salsa

Main Summer
Serves 4

It may look a little daunting, what with those tentacles, eyes, beak and all, but fresh squid is one of the joys of the summer kitchen. This is a wonderful summer main course that's best served with crusty bread. That said, I once tried it cold, and it was also impeccable. The anchovies, if you can't stand them, aren't essential.


500g (net weight) sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
2 small lemons
150g trimmed celery, cut into 1cm dice
1½ tbsp pitted Kalamata olives, cut into quarters lengthways
2½ tbsp capers
3 garlic cloves, crushed
6 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
6 tbsp chopped parsley
2½ tsp maple syrup
5 tbsp olive oil 
¾ tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
800g cleaned squid, cut into rings, or butterflied and cut into pieces
60g rocket
chilli oil, to finish


  1. Place a medium-sized pan of salted water on your stove top and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the sweet potato, simmer for five to seven minutes, then test for doneness - they need to be tender but still retain their shape, so watch out that they don't turn into mush. Drain into a colander and leave to cool down.
  2. Next, take the lemons and, with a small, sharp knife, trim off their tops and tails. Now cut down their sides, along their round curves, to remove the skin and white pith. Over a medium bowl - to collect any juice that escapes - remove the individual lemon segments by cutting between the membranes. Put the segments in the bowl, then squeeze any remaining juice from the desegmented lemons over the top.
  3. Add the cooked sweet potatoes to the lemon bowl, then gently stir in the celery, olives, capers, garlic, anchovy (if using), parsley, maple syrup, three tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper. The salsa can now be left at room temperature for a couple of hours, or refrigerated and used the next day.
  4. To cook the squid, heat up a ridged griddle pan or a barbecue until really hot - again, this is an essential factor in the cooking process. Throw the squid pieces in the pan a few at a time, without crowding, grill for about one minute each side, then remove, and repeat with the remaining squid.
  5. Once all the squid is cooked, toss it gently into the salsa ingredients. The heat of the squid will turn this into a warmish salad.
  6. As you plate it, dot with the rocket and finish with a trickle of chilli oil.