Pan-fried squid with chickpea, tomato, olive and chilli salad

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Pan-fried squid with chickpea, tomato, olive and chilli salad

Pan-fried squid salad, taken from Leiths How to Cook

For a taste of the Mediterranean, try our succulent salad.


Serves 4

1kg squid
2 tbsp olive oil

For the salad
400g drained cooked or tinned chickpeas
1 red onion
2 red chillies
2 garlic cloves
24 cherry tomatoes
75g rocket or baby spinach leaves
1 lemon
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 - 1/2 tsp crushed dried chillies
75g black olives
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Prepare the squid and set aside. You can either ask your fishmonger to prepare the squid, or follow our guide (see link below).
  2. For the salad, rinse the chickpeas and discard any that are discoloured. Halve, peel and finely slice the red onion and halve, deseed and finely chop the chillies. Peel and thinly slice the garlic and halve the cherry tomatoes. Pick over, wash and dry the rocket or spinach. Finely grate the zest and squeeze the juice of the lemon.
  3. For the dressing, whisk together 1 tablespoon lemon juice, half the zest and the 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
  4. Put the ½ tablespoon olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat, add the onion and cook gently until just beginning to soften. Add the chopped chillies, garlic and the crushed dried chillies and cook for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas and warm through. Lightly crush them with the back of a wooden spoon until they just to begin to break up.
  5. Put the cherry tomatoes and black olives into a large bowl and tip in the warm chickpea mixture.
  6. Heat the frying pan over a medium to high heat and add the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Dry the squid well and pan-fry until just starting to curl. Turn and cook briefly again, then remove from the pan.
  7. Add the rocket or spinach to the chickpeas, pour over the dressing and toss to coat evenly. Add the squid and turn through, then divide between 4 plates and drizzle any remaining dressing from the bowl over the salad.


Squid with chickpea, chorizo, tomato, olive and chilli salad: Add 75 g peeled and thinly sliced sautéed cooking chorizo to the salad and use any rendered chorizo oil in the dressing.

A note on cooking squid...

When pan-frying, griddling or deep-frying squid, you need a high temperature to keep the squid tender and to allow for some caramelisation for colour and flavour. Depending on thickness, 2–3 minutes is enough cooking time; any longer and you risk the squid turning tough. Scoring squid helps the heat to penetrate the flesh, so it can cook quickly, and creates sharp edges to catch and caramelise nicely.

An alternative to cooking squid very quickly is to cook it very slowly, as for a stew, which will make it soft and tender. Anything in between can make the squid tough, chewy and unpalatable.

Click here for our guide to preparing a squid.

Lily Grouse

Author: Lily Grouse

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