It is difficult to conjure up a cracking meal with what can be only described as eff all. I am not a magician; I don’t even have the skills to do a basic card trick and I certainly do not possess the powers of alchemy.
What is not difficult though, is creating a cracking meal with what I was faced with tonight; fresh squid, herbs, spinach and tomatoes from the garden, our own marinated capsicum (peppers), olives, chickpeas and some za’atar with a bit of nutty addition for good measure.
If we are reading from the same book (but let’s face it; we are probably not. In fact I don’t think our books are even from the same library as I am ashamed to say I would’ve skipped on straight past the public book loan place and picked myself up a magazine from the news agent next door) we both know that there shall be a damn attractive salad emerge from this stack of ingredients. A fantastic, light, summery, still-trying-to-cling-on-to-those-last-few-warm-days type salad.
Anyway, you can see this shit is going to be good so I’ll get right on with the main event.
WARM SALAD OF SQUID, CHICKPEAS, OLIVES, TOMATO AND HERBS with NUTTY ZA’ATAR (serves 2 if you feed the kids toasted cheese sandwiches for dinner and then eat yours once they go to bed)
500g fresh squid, cleaned, scored in a criss cross (not Kris Kross. That would involve pants being worn backwards and that’s just weird whatever planet you’re from) pattern on the inside of the hood and then cut into 2x4cm pieces
1 cup cooked chickpeas (the ones from a tin are fine)
1 handful tomatoes, chopped
1 handful olives
1 handful roasted and marinated capsicum (peppers), sliced
A handful of fresh mint and basil, torn
2 handfuls of spinach, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons nutty za’atar (recipe follows)
A splash of oil
Juice of ½ lemon
A couple of beers or something white to wash it all down
• Get all of your mis en place ready before you start cooking because once you begin it’s all going to be over very quickly… yeah, a bit like your performance under the sheets last night
• Get a heavy based frying pan plenty hot. Add oil and then squid. Toss for 45ish seconds
• Remove from heat and add the chickpeas to warm through for a minute
• Combine with all other ingredients, dress with lemon juice and a splash of olive oil, season lightly and sprinkle with nutty za’atar-y goodness
2 tablespoons za’atar
2 tablespoons chopped almonds and walnuts
• Mix it all together and bam, there you go