It all started with Rupert Everett. He was in white T - the sort that only those who want to show off what’s underneath it wear. We were at the counter of J Sheekey Oyster Bar, Dee and I, feeling as though we’d bunked school to eat fish pie and drink champagne.
Rupert walked through the door.
Our octopus with chorizo and broad beans arrived.
Slight panic. What to devour? Hollywood-star-in-tight-T-shirt-and-designer-stubble or good-looking-seafood-dish-that-dies-when-cold?
I think you know the answer to that question, friends. If Rupert had decided to give us a star turn of Say a little prayer I might have reconsidered but as he didn't I chose to spend the next day or so obsessing over the dish. The chorizo and broad bean dish, that is.
Anyway, here’s my attempt at it. I like J Sheekey's meaty-mollusc combination, especially their baked razor clams. Unfortunately I could find no octopus at the fishmongers, only frozen baby squid from Waitrose. But for a light Sunday-night supper, this is still a bit of a luxury. Great as a starter.
Recipe: Serves 2
I won’t go into how to prepare squid, but click here for a good ol’ Mitch Tonks BBC demonstration.
8 baby squid, cleaned and complete with tenticles
Under 100g chorizo slices
About 20 broad bean pods (thanks Riverford)
1 big garlic clove, sliced (optional)
Squeeze of lemon
Pod the broad beans and throw into a pan of boiling water for 4 minutes.
Drain, refresh with cold water then peel the skin of each bean. Keep to one side.
Slice the body of the squid in half, lengthways. Drizzle oil over the squid halves and tenticles. Heat a griddle pan, and when searing hot, season squid with salt, and lay squid on pan a minute each side until they curl. Be quick, and fry in batches, you don’t want to overcook them - in fact, better to undercook. Set to one side.
In another frying pan, heat some olive oil over medium-high heat, and throw in garlic (if using), then a minute later, the chorizo slices. When they start yielding that gorgeous pimentón-coloured oil, throw in the broad beans just to heat through, followed by the squid. Heat for a minute or two to ensure the squid is just cooked, and the orange-red oil coats the beans and squid and add a little butter to enrich the sauce.
Take off the heat, season and serve with a spritz of lemon. Lovely on lightly-toasted bread with a drizzle of olive oil.
J Sheekey Oyster Bar
28-34 St Martin's Court
020 7240 2565