Japanese seared squid and a brilliant Brighton fish shop

Japanese seared squid with steamed sugar snaps

It’s exciting, moving to a new city. Doubly so if, like me, you grew up on the coast and it’s the first time you’ve lived by the sea for 16 years. There’s the immediate hit of being in a different place, and then a slow burning pleasure it opens up and starts to reveal its secrets.

And so it was with some excitement that we discovered Fish just a short bike ride away near Hove lagoon. It sits in a plain concrete building, with wonderful counter covered in crushed ice, displaying some of the freshest, and local, fish and shellfish I’ve seen. This is what a fishmonger should be like, not the sorry excuse – offering the same ageing fish – you see in supermarkets.

Sparkling mackerel, live crabs, grumpy looking John Dory, sleek grey mullet, live razors, mussels and clams and much, much more. I just walked up and down the counter relishing the fresh salty tang and totally unable to make a choice. We came back with some mackerel for the BBQ, a lovely looking squid and the determination to return. Regularly.

And to top it all off, we stumbled on Marrocco’s on the way back, where we had a huge platter of superb frito misto for £18. More than enough for two, and we were able to eat it outside looking out over the sea.

This recipe is what I made from the squid we bought back from Fish. It’s pretty quick and the sweet-salty marinade, so typical of Japanese cooking, highlights the creamy taste of the squid beautifully. The perfect way to celebrate our fine new discovery.

Japanese seared squid with chilli
Feeds two if you use a medium squid

1 squid – cleaned , butterflied and scored
60ml/Qtr cup Mirin
60ml/Qtr cup soy sauce
1 tblsp caster sugar
A little chilli powder (I use Shichimi Togarashi) to finish

Pour the mirin and soy sauce into a small small pan and add the sugar. Bring to the boil and then turn immediately drown to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Meanwhile clean (here’s a pretty good guide, i used the guide in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish book) and score the squid. Then, when the mirin. mixture is cool, marinade the squid in it for about 30 minutes.

While you cook the rest of the meal heat up a griddle or frying pan until it is smoking hot – and then heat it some more, you want to make sure it is red hot.

Sear the squid on it for one minute (there will be smoke from the marinade), turn and leave it for one more minute, no more. Then serve immediately with a little chilli powder sprinkled on top.

Marinading the squid

12 Responses to “Japanese seared squid and a brilliant Brighton fish shop”

  1. catty

    That looks delicious! Where are you living now?? You moved to Brighton last I heard…. right? or have you skadoodled elsewhere in the UK again?

  2. meemalee

    I’d love a proper fishmongers. It’s odd – I was born at the seaside, but I’ve never really felt an affinity for the sea other than the desire to eat everything within it ;)

    The squid looks beautifully tender – am a big fan of the salty sweet marinade too. What did you serve on the side other than the sugar snaps?

  3. Kavey

    I think my main affinity for the sea is the same as MiMi’s! I’ve never lived by the sea, though. I know many friends who express longing to do so, but I’ve never had that…
    THIS LOOKS TASTYLICIOUS. Ha, tastylicious. What a silly word.

  4. The Grubworm

    @catty – thanks, we are in Brighton still, and still very much discovering it. Can’t see us moving within the UK for a while now

    @meemalee – i love the clear air and the sound of the gulls. It’s super relaxing.

    The other side dish was some of the summer veg risotto i had left over, formed into wee cakes and fried.

    @kkavey – i like tastylicious (particularly when it comes in caps).

  5. Tom

    I know you focus on recipes now but I am enjoying the insights into Brighton as I never managed to make it there. Hopefully you will do a GW food photo tour :)

  6. The Grubworm

    @Tom – funny you should say that, but I’m going to start diversifying a bit again now I’m in Brighton. Got a couple of places lined up that are great, and different places to eat.

    Can’t believe you never made it done, it’s a great place. And, while it lacks the Michelin style fine-dining scene of London, there is some great food to be found.

  7. shuhan

    I think I told you already, but LOVE the new look. oh, and the squid looks just delicious, love how wonderfully scorched and seared it is, and the japanese dressing- brilliant!

  8. The Grubworm

    @Shuhan – thanks! That squid was good, a lot of which was down to it being very fresh and caught just off Brighton.

  9. Jo Finney

    Hi Aaron, Love your website – I’m a secret stalker! Would it work with scallops do you reckon?

  10. The Grubworm

    @Jo – thanks! I rather like the idea of having a secret stalker… ;) This would probably work with scallops. You wouldn’t need to marinate them for long at all either.

  11. Vicky @ Ursine Cuisine

    Delicious – this is exactly the kind of dish I go for – simple and tasty, but well thought out – yum!

    Brighton is such a wonderful city – I love my visits, as I’m only 45 minutes up the road. And I love the atmosphere – interesting and inclusive. And great foodie stuff going on too – my next places to visit are The Forager in Hove and Riddle and Finns in The Lanes.

  12. The Grubworm

    @Vicky – glad you like the dish. I got the idea from one of Harumi’s books. She does lovely simple food.

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