Seared Squid Steaks with Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

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Preparation info

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Appears in

Food of the Sun: A Fresh Look at Mediterranean Cooking

Food of the Sun

By Alastair Little and Richard Whittington

Published 1995

  • About

Cleaned squid bodies - white slippery flaccid tubes - look like something familiar and contemporary, but neither of us can think quite what that is. With the exception of this dish, every recipe in the book demands small squid. Here you want as big a squid body as you can find. Two 450 g/1 lb tubes would be perfect to give four rectangular steaks, 115-140 g/4-5 oz in weight, with the flesh at least 5 mm/ΒΌ in thick. You can find frozen cleaned squid bodies which grill well and which weigh about 225 g/8 oz each. Cut down one side and opened up then trimmed at the pointed (tail) end, these will make one steak each. Once trimmed carefully, cut a diamond cross-hatch into each side, taking care not to cut all the way through.

Squid cooks in seconds, then becomes rubbery - not as tough as octopus, but too resilient to get a blunt table knife through without a struggle. The secret is to use two very hot frying pans and to cook the steaks for no more than 30 seconds a side. When the rectangles hit the pan, they will balloon upwards briefly. Immediately turn them the other way up and within seconds they will roll determinedly into a cylinder.


  • 1 red onion
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 hot red chillies
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 squid steaks
  • salt and pepper
  • small handful coriander leaves, to finish
  • extra-virgin olive oil, to serve (optional)

For the Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes

  • 900 g/2 lb potatoes
  • 5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 nutmeg



Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks. Cook them in a large pan of boiling salted for 20 minutes, or until just tender.

While they are cooking, peel and dice the onion and fry until browned in a little of the olive oil.

Deseed the chillies, cut the flesh into thin strips and add to the onion. Peel, smash and chop the garlic, adding to the pan only as the onions are cooked. Stir to cook briefly and remove from the heat and reserve.

Prepare the squid steaks as described, brush with the remaining oil, season with salt and pepper.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain well and mash them with the extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg. Keep warm.

Destalk and chop the coriander.


Heat 2 dry heavy frying pans until very hot. Lay 2 steaks in each, turn with tongs after 30 seconds. Turn and, as they roll up, take the pans off the heat and scatter over the onion mixture.


Transfer to warmed individual serving plates and serve at once, with a big spoonful of the mashed potatoes and with the fried onion, garlic and chilli mixture scattered over. Finish with chopped coriander leaves. A little more extra-virgin olive oil may be poured over, if desired.

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