Dad's seafood sizzle

Dad's seafood sizzle

A Lot on Her Plate
Helen Cathcart

My mum did most of the cooking in our house, while Dad proudly tended to the vegetable patch. But he did have certain ‘signature dishes’ as he called them, and this seafood ‘sizzle’ was one of his finest creations. I remember him getting very excited every time it came to cooking it, prepping all the spring onions, garlic and chilli meticulously before frying everything together in a lot of olive oil. This is best eaten with big hunks of good bread (we’d always have crusty French baguettes) to soak up the seafood-heady, garlicky oil the seafood should be swimming in. You could add some clams to the mix if you’re partial to a mollusc or two.


Quantity Ingredient
300g fresh squid, cleaned, (ask your fishmonger to do this for you)
4 garlic cloves, 2 crushed, 2 finely sliced
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
150ml light olive oil
200g clams, cleaned, (optional)
2 large spring onions, cut into thin matchsticks
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 green jalapeno chilli, finely sliced
2 slices preserved lemon, pith and flesh removed and finely chopped, (optional)
12 shell-on raw tiger prawns
good-sized french baguette, torn into chunks
wedges lemon, to serve


  1. Marinate the squid for about 1 hour before you cook it: cut the body section of the squid into rectangles (about 5 cm x 3 cm) and score the underside lightly with a sharp knife in a cross-hatch pattern. Cut the tentacle section of each squid in half. Wash the squid and pat dry carefully with kitchen paper. Put it in a bowl and add the crushed garlic, a pinch of salt, a grind of black pepper, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a good glug of the olive oil. Toss it all together so that the squid is well coated in the marinade, cover and chill.
  2. Half an hour before you cook, take your seafood out of the fridge to let it come to room temperature. If using, put the clams in a bowl under a gently running cold tap for about 10 minutes – this will encourage them to give up their grit.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a heavy-based non-stick frying pan. Add the spring onion, ginger, chilli and preserved lemon (if using) and cook for 2 minutes, then add the prawns and sliced garlic. Cook for 2 minutes, shaking the pan to avoid anything catching and burning. When the underside of the prawns start turning pink (you want to see some deep caramelisation on the skins), add the squid and its marinade and shake again, cooking for a further 2 minutes. Add the drained clams, if using, and the rest of the oil and lemon juice, and cover the pan with a lid or plate. Cook for about 3 minutes, shaking the pan to make sure everything cooks evenly, until the clam shells open. If there are any clams that haven’t opened after cooking, discard them.
  4. Spoon into bowls or onto plates, making sure to pour over some of the delicious seafood garlic oil. Serve with chunks of bread, lemon wedges and an extra bowl for the shells.
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