Salt and Pepper Squid, Watermelon Chilli and Mint Salad

Paul Macnish

I’ve been making and serving this dish for many years and there is a very good reason for that… it’s delicious and people can’t get enough of it.

It does have many elements but many of them can be done well in advance so it’s not as painful as it first seems. So don’t feel overwhelmed you can easily pour yourself a glass of wine and knock out an element per day for a few days then the final day of preparation won’t be an ordeal that leaves you sweating wondering why you ever listened to that random chef who said this would be easy.

Both the chilli jam and aioli are essentials in everyone’s fridge, these literally make everything taste good from spreading on sandwiches to dipping your chips in. The condiments are life changing and regardless of the dish they help create, they stand alone in their greatness.

The squid component can either be fresh squid tubes pulled straight from the ocean or frozen tubes defrosted in a sink, both work really well and have their pluses and minus’ so its completely up to you and how much mess you feel like creating. If using frozen tubes I recommend marinading the scored tubes in kiwi fruit for two hours to allow the magical fruit to start breaking down the toughness of the tubes leaving the most delicate and tender squid you have ever tasted. But do not leave for too long or you will lose all texture and have squid that literally falls apart.

And if squid isn’t your thing then don’t worry! You can happily dice up some feta and mix with the chilli jam and watermelon salad leaving you a fabulous summer salad that packs a punch and look the business.


  • Potato Starch (100g)
  • Cornflour (100g)
  • Gluten Free Self-Raising Flour (200g)
  • Chilli Powder (1 Tbsp)
  • Garlic Powder (1/8 Cup)
  • Onion Powder (1/8 Cup)
  • White Pepper and Salt (To taste)
  • Chopped Red Chillis (1kg)
  • Roasted Roma Tomatoes (2kg)
  • Oliva Oil (100ml)
  • Red Wine Vinegar (200ml)
  • Cumin (1 Tbsp)
  • Tumeric (1 Tbsp)
  • Garlic Cloves (20)
  • Ginger (30g)
  • Seeded Mustard (1 Tbsp)
  • Fish Sauce (100ml)
  • Palm Sugar (200g)
  • Egg Yolks (2)
  • Whole Egg (1)
  • Dijon Mustard (1 Large Tbsp)
  • White Wine Vinegar (2 Tbsp)
  • Garlic Confit (2 Tbsp)
  • Red Wine Vinegar (Small Splash)
  • White Pepper and Salt (To taste)
  • Vegetable Oil (750ml Max)
  • Seedless Watermelon (Diced into 1-2cm Cubes)
  • Mint (Thinly Sliced)
  • Chilli Jam


Squid flour for coating (can be used to coat loads of things!)

  1. Mix potato starch, cornflour, gluten free self-raising flour, chilli powder, garlic powder, onion powder and white pepper and salt together and store in a bag or jar until needed.

Chilli Jam

  1. Couldn’t be simpler! Just place chopped red chillis, Roma tomatoes, olive oil, red wine vinegar, cumin, turmeric, garlic, ginger, seeded mustard and palm sugar in pot and simmer until it cooks down and starts to thicken, approx. 30-40 minutes.
  2. Blend until as smooth as you wish and finish with the fish sauce.
  3. This stuff lasts for ages so I often make twice this recipe and give my friends jars, and if you don’t have friends this may change that!


  1. Add egg yolks, whole egg, dijon mustard and white wine vinegar, garlic confit in a mix or with bar mix and start blending whilst adding oil. Do this until thickens, I reckon you should add 30ml of hot water twice during making to thin out and make oil easier to incorporate.
  2. Then to finish add red wine vinegar and seasoning to taste.
  3. Lastly, add 10ml of hot water which I feel seals the sauce.

*To make the Garlic Confit, simply simmer garlic cloves in oil on low for an hour*

Watermelon, Chilli and Mint Salad 

  1. Simply mix the diced watermelon with enough chilli jam to coat the fruit and a generous amount of Nurtured in Norfolk’s incredible mint. Thai mint would a great addition also.

Salt and Pepper Squid

  1. Not much to it! Score your tubes so they curl up nice and pretty and cut into 1-2 inch rectangles for ease of eating.
  2. Coat liberally in the flour mix and shake off excess.
  3. Fry in 180c oil until crispy, this doesn’t take long at all so don’t go anywhere!

Putting it all together

  1. Firstly, make the watermelon salad and nicely plate in the center of the plate or on a platter if you want to serve many from the one dish.
  2. Now fry off your squid and leave draining on some paper towel.
  3. I place the aioli and chilli jam in a squeezey bottle then I add little pipings of them dotted around the plate.
  4. Next, I place the squid on the watermelon carefully piled as to not fall all over the plate.
  5. To finish, I add a wedge of lime and sprinkle Nurtured In Norfolk’s micro mint and micro coriander over the dish.
  6. Now finish by carefully placing in your mouth and revelling in your own glory.


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