Grilled squid with thyme and lime juice

Thyme is a backbone herb for chef Nigel Slater, but in the summer, "when my cooking tends to be less casserole and oven orientated, I also use it to make an aromatic butter for grilled chicken, or, as in this recipe, to flavour a pan-fried fish. The young, smaller leaves are best for this. Keep the tougher stalks for a long, slow casserole."


Serves 2

50g cleaned squid (body sacs and tentacles)
A large, juicy clove of garlic
A handful of thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the dressing:

The juice of 2 limes
2 tablespoons olive oil
The leaves of a couple of sprigs of thyme
Maldon sea salt flakes


Achieving the perfect results

  1. Peel the garlic and crush it to a paste with a pestle and mortar.
  2. Strip the leaves from the thyme and mash them into the garlic with the olive oil to give a smoothish dressing.
  3. Give the squid a good once over, removing any stray bits of gut or slime the fishmonger has left behind and rinse it thoroughly.
  4. Shake it dry, then cut each sack down the side so that it opens out flat. Take a very sharp knife and score the flesh on one side in a criss-cross fashion, but not so deep that you cut all the way through.
  5. Turn the squid in the garlic marinade and set aside for a good 30 minutes, longer if you have it.
  6. Make the dressing in a small basin or jar with a screw top jar by mixing the lime juice, olive oil and thyme leaves together.
  7. Get a ridged griddle hot. Lay the pieces of squid on the ridges and let it grill for a few seconds on each side.
  8. It will probably roll itself up into beautiful white curls. Remove it as soon as it is lightly coloured here and there from the grill bars (a matter of just a minute or two) and divide between two plates.
  9. Tip over the dressing and sprinkle lightly with flakes of sea salt. Eat while all is hot and sizzling.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.