Char-grilled Squid with Chilli Jam
We have a tradition with some close friends that involves always having Easter Sunday lunch at Yetman's restaurant, in Holt in Norfolk, where Alison and Peter Yetman cook and serve my absolute favourite kind of food.
Last year, we had this brilliant starter, for which Alison has kindly given me the recipe. The chilli jam will keep in the fridge for up to three months, and is also wonderful with sausages.
This recipe is from Delia's Complete How to Cook. Serves 4
Firstly, make the chilli jam. This can be done well in advance.
First of all, you need to roughly chop the tomatoes. (You can leave on their skins.) Then put half of them into a blender, along with the chillies, garlic, ginger and fish sauce, whiz everything to a fine purée and pour the mixture into a large saucepan. Now pulse the remaining tomatoes in the blender until just chopped, but this time not puréed. Add these to the purée in the saucepan, along with the sugar and vinegars, and slowly bring the mixture up to boiling point, stirring all the time.
When the mixture reaches the boil, turn the heat down to a gentle simmer. Skim off any foam from the surface and cook gently, uncovered, for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent the chopped tomato settling at the bottom. You will also need to scrape down the sides of the pan during the cooking so that everything cooks evenly. The mixture should reduce to half its volume. Now pour it into the hot, sterilised jar, allow it to cool and then cover and store it in the fridge. (You will need about a third of the chilli jam for this recipe.)
Next, pre-heat the griddle over a high heat. Meanwhile, prepare the squid. Slit it on one side and open it out to give two flaps (retaining the tentacles). Pat dry with kitchen paper. (It's important that you dry the squid properly, otherwise it will stew in the pan, rather than fry.) Now, using a small sharp knife, lightly score it on the inside – if you score it on the outside, it won't curl properly. Score diagonally in one direction, then do the same in the other direction, to give little diamond shapes, taking great care not to cut right through the squid.
When the pan is searing hot, lightly brush the squid and the tentacles on both sides with the oil, then season with salt and freshly milled black pepper. Only season the squid the moment it goes into the pan – if you do it in advance, the salt will draw out all the moisture. Now add the squid and tentacles in batches to the hot pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, turning halfway through, until lightly charred. (Be warned – the tentacles will look as though they're coming alive!)
Use tongs to transfer the first batch to a warmed plate while you cook the rest. Serve warm or cold on a bed of rocket leaves, with the chilli jam drizzled over.