Squid, courgette, mint, pine nuts

This is the starter from a meal I made last weekend for some friends and I’ll be posting recipes for the other two courses when I finally get round to writing them up! We were having a Sicilian dish called farsumagru for mains, which is a meat roulade stuffed with meat and yet more meat, so I wanted something light to begin with.

I took inspiration from Sicily by using lots of lemon, olive oil and pine nuts and also made use of an interesting technique of salting courgette ribbons: after half an hour, you squeeze out as much water as possible (I used a potato ricer) and what you’re left with has a texture quite similar to al dente pasta.

For the squid, I used the Modernist Cuisine best bet tables and cooked it sous vide at 65°C for five minutes; I was a bit sceptical about such a short cooking time but it really worked well. And while it might seem a bit strange to go to the effort of cooling the squid in an ice bath only to reheat it again, this ensures that there’s pretty much no chance of overcooking the protein and ending up with a rubbery mess.

Squid, courgette, mint, pine nuts

Squid, courgette, mint, pine nuts

Serves:  4

2 medium courgettes, peeled into ribbons
15g salt
2 tubes squid
Olive oil
15g pine nuts
15g mint, finely chopped
10ml lemon juice
10g lemon zest
2.5g black pepper


  1. Place the courgettes in a colander and sprinkle over the salt.
  2. Mix thoroughly and leave to sit for half an hour.
  3. Squeeze as much liquid from the courgettes as possible and then set aside.
  4. Fill a bowl with iced water and seal the squid tubes in a vacuum bag.
  5. Place in a temperature controlled water bath at 65°C for five minutes.
  6. Remove the bags and place into the ice bath.
  7. When cool, take the squid out of the vacuum bag and slice into thin strips.
  8. Heat some olive oil in a pan over a medium heat.
  9. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, around 2-3 minutes. Reserve.
  10. Heat a pan over a low heat and add some olive oil.
  11. Add the courgettes and squid and heat until just warm.
  12. Add the mint, lemon juice, lemon zest and black pepper and mix thoroughly.
  13. Season with more salt or lemon juice if required.
  14. Divide between four plates, sprinkle over the pine nuts and serve immediately.

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