Familiar fish species, salmon, trout, halibut, are very impressive. Bright eyes, firm muscle, gorgeous luminous scales. Others like monkfish, octopus and squid are just plain ugly. Monkfish with enormous heads with two rows vicious teeth or the slimy, long tendrils of eye- popping squid are hardly appetising. You can understand why in the past Scottish fishermen just threw these ugly characters over- board.

These days, with foreign holidays the norm, we have a new appreciation of these unfortunate creatures. Buy North Atlantic Squid which are caught this month as a by-product of local fishing. They are easy to clean. Work under cold running water. Twist the head and simply pull it away from the tubular body. It comes away effortlessly, the gut and quill like bone coming away as well. Now pull any slimy coating off the tube and side wings.

Tucked behind the head and tentacles you will find a small black ink sack and beak. Pull this away being careful as the dark squid ink can burst out and go all over the place. All you need to do now is cut the squid into the familiar rings and chop the tentacles into bite sized pieces. If this is all too much fuss get your friendly fishmonger to prepare the squid for you.

Raw, cleaned squid freezes very well.

My Neapolitan grandmother Annunziata taught me how to prepare this appetising squid salad.


500g fresh squid, cut into 1 cm thick rings

1 litre water

Lemon juice

Add the prepared squid to a litre of cold water and add a good squeeze of lemon juice.

Bring to the boil and then immediately turn off the heat. The squid cooks very quickly.

Check it is cooked by cutting a piece to ensure it’s tender.

Drain and refresh in cold running water.

Set aside to cool.


2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Juice and zest of an unwaxed lemon

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced

2 sticks celery, peeled and finely chopped

½ red pepper, skinned and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon stoned black olives

2 tablespoons finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Sea salt and black pepper

Whisk the olive oil lemon zest and half the juice of the lemon together in a large bowl.

Add the garlic, carrot, celery and red pepper.

Mix in the black olives and chopped parsley.

Season with sea salt and black pepper.

Check flavour and adjust adding more lemon juice as needed.

Now add the cooled squid rings and mix everything together.

Serve lightly chilled with crusty bruschetta.