I am a little sceptical, often with good reason, about cookbooks that sell themselves on a gimmick (e.g. a certain number of minutes; a limited number of ingredients). And I therefore had a bit of an aversion to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things since ‘three’ didn’t actually refer to every ingredient used.
But, my, it was a very short-lived aversion because this book is stuffed with things I want to cook, things that suit a WTF-desire to minimise fuss but maximise flavour.
There are, for example, 20 recipes in the fish chapter and I want to make nearly all of them. This squid dish was the first one that I tried and, though devastatingly simple, it is bloody marvellous: fast (none of that peeling nonsense), one-pot and very short on shopping. My only criticism, and the only change I have made to it, is that 250g cleaned squid is not enough for the cat, let alone two adults. Double that to 500g and this is possibly the most perfect squid recipe ever.
Squid with roasted potatoes and chilli
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
olive or rapeseed oil, 4 tbsp
potatoes, unpeeled 500g
garlic cloves, 3-4
plain flour, 4-5 tbsp
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
cleaned squid, 500g (including the tentacles if you like them)
red chillies, 2 (medium-sized milder ones rather than blow-your-head off bird’s eyes)
lemon wedges, to serve
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan-assisted/gas 6.
2. Put the oil into a large roasting tin and put the tin into the oven for about 5 minutes until the oil is very hot.
3. Cut the potatoes into 3cm or so chunks. Flatten the garlic cloves with the blade of a knife.
4. Remove the roasting tin from the oven. Add the potatoes and garlic to the tin with the oil, season with salt and pepper, toss together well then return to the oven and roast for 30 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, put the flour into a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.
6. Slice the squid bodies into 1cm-thick rings then turn them inside out (apparently this helps them to stay ‘open’ during cooking, whatever that means; not sure if ‘open’ is the right word but they definitely cooked perfectly so I’ll do it again) and dust them and any tentacles with the seasoned flour.
7. De-stalk and de-seed the chillies then slice them crossways into thin slices.
8. After 30 minutes, remove the potatoes from the oven and turn the oven up to 240°C/220°C fan-assisted/gas 9.
9. Stir the potatoes well then push them to the sides of the tin to leave space for the squid.
10. Put the floured squid rings (and tentacles, if using) into the tin, turn them over in any remaining hot oil (there won’t be much) then return to the oven for 5-7 minutes until the squid is starting to colour.
11. Finally, add the chilli slices and roast for another 5 minutes.
12. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges to squeeze over the top. (You can discard the garlic before serving if you want; I like to eat it.)