Chilli squid and roast pepper salad with a preserved-lemon vinaigrette

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  • A flash of summer sun to pierce the winter gloom. To simplify this salad further, use a large jar of ready-roasted peppers, drained. Peeled, raw king prawns also work beautifully if you don’t care for squid

    Serves 4
    4 large mixed peppers, cored and sliced into ‘cheeks’
    12 baby squid, cleaned 1 1⁄2 tbsp olive oil 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 red chilli, finely chopped 50g wild rocket leaves 2 tbsp pine nuts, lightly toasted

    For the dressing
    Large pinch of saffron threads 2 tbsp sherry vinegar Pinch of sugar 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced 2 preserved lemons, quartered, flesh cut away and peel finely sliced

    Step 1) Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, Gas Mark 6. Lay the peppers in a baking tin in a single layer, skin-side up. Roast for 30-40 minutes, until blackened and blistered.

    Step 2) Tip the peppers into a plastic food bag or wrap in clingfilm and set aside for 20 minutes to cool and steam. This makes the skins easier to remove. Peel off the skins and discard them. Slice the roast-pepper flesh roughly and set aside.

    Step 3) To make the dressing, whisk the saffron with 1 tbsp hot water and leave to infuse for a few minutes. Whisk in the sherry vinegar, sugar, extra virgin olive oil, sliced chilli and sliced preserved-lemon peel.

    Step 4) Open the squid out like a book by slicing through one side of each squid hood. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the inside with a criss-cross pattern. Toss with the olive oil, chopped garlic and chopped chilli. Sear in a very hot frying pan, cooking for a minute or so on each side, until tinged golden and curled up. Toss the hot squid, roast peppers and rocket leaves together with the dressing, scatter with the toasted pine nuts and serve.

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