chargrilled squid with smokey chilli, fennel & apple

chargrilled squid with smokey chilli, fennel & apple | table twenty eight

This recipe is heavily inspired by a wonderful dish eaten at Bib and Tucker a while back, drawing from the rich, smokey-spicy flavours reminiscent of Spanish cuisine.

It was during a lunch date with Mr Pitt, who for many years has been my esteemed partner in wining and dining.

We’ve gradually been working our way through all the best that Perth has to offer in the way of eating and drinking, and some of the best meals I’ve enjoyed have been shared in his company.

Menus are navigated with the long-standing and respected tradition that each diner cannot order the same dish as the other, thus maximising the opportunity to taste as many dishes as possible.

The sampling of each other’s mains is always a civilized and fair exchange – but dessert is pretty much a free-for-all and reaching over the table to pilfer spoonfuls of the other diner’s peanut butter parfait has been known to occur…

chargrilled squid with smokey chilli, fennel & apple | table twenty eight

On this occasion we were dining at Bib & Tucker, a relatively new bistro nestled in the sand dunes and overlooking the beautiful vista of Leighton Beach.

We were seated on the bar right next to the kitchen –the foodie equivalent of being seated in the front row of a rock star’s concert – and were very lucky to have Chef Scott Bridger take the time to chat with us.

He recommended the day’s special of local cuttlefish, chargrilled and studded with quintessential Spanish flavours – smoked paprika, chilli and chorizo – and served on a fresh shaved fennel and apple salad.  Magic.

chargrilled squid with smokey chilli, fennel & apple | table twenty eight

chargrilled squid with smokey chilli,
shaved fennel & apple


4 whole squid, cleaned, skin removed and tentacles removed (but reserved)

½ dried chorizo sausage
⅓ cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped
½ fennel bulb
½ green apple
1 lemon
handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
extra virgin olive oil

chilli jam
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 long red chillies, seeds removed, finely sliced
4 tbsp harissa
1 tsp sugar
sea salt


Start preparing the chilli jam by heating a frypan over medium heat.

Add the smoked paprika and dry-fry for a minute, stirring frequently, until fragrant.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil, heat briefly and add the chilli and garlic.  Fry for a couple of minutes before adding the harissa, sugar and a pinch of sea salt.

Turn the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until the mixture is thick and glossy (similar to a jam consistency).  Remove from the heat and set aside until needed.

chargrilled squid with smokey chilli, fennel & apple | table twenty eight

To prepare the squid, use a sharp knife to halve and concertina the hoods with fine slices. Thoroughly pat dry with absorbent paper and set aside.

Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, thinly slice the fennel and apple. Squeeze over the juice of one lemon, toss and set aside.

Remove the casing from the chorizo and finely chop into small ‘crumbs’.  Heat a frypan over medium heat and fry until the fat has rendered and the sausage is crisp. Drain on absorbent paper.

Lightly oil a griddle pan and heat over high until smoking.

Add the squid pieces and tentacles, grilling until the charred, golden and cooked through.

When ready to eat, spread the fennel and apple on a serving platter and place the squid pieces on top.

Dot generously with spoonfuls of the chilli jam and scatter with the chorizo crumbs, chopped parsley and smoked almonds.

Drizzle with a good glug of extra virgin olive oil and serve immediately.

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