Seafood, fennel and lime salad is as Ottolenghi says go together like sun, sea and sandcastles. You can almost smell the Mediterranean here in this dish, which needs little more than a glass of white wine alongside. It can be either a stand-alone starter or light lunch, with some fresh crusty bread to mop up the juices, or else served as part of a mezzo section. This can be made unto a day before serving, up to the point before the sumac and coriander are added.
2 small fennel bulbs
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
finely grated zest and juice of 1 lime
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10g dill, roughly chopped
10g parsley, roughly chopped
1 mild chili, de-seeded and finely chopped
60ml olive oil
8 tiger prawns, peeled and de-veined
350g cleaned baby squid
10g coriander, roughly chopped
pomegranate seeds to garnish ( optional)
flakey sea salt
Trim the bases and tops of the fennel bulbs, then slice widthwise as thinly as you can. A mandolin would be useful here. In a large bowl, mix the fennel and red onion with the lime juice and zest, garlic, dill parsley, chilli, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Place a heavy cast-iron pan, preferably a griddle pan, over a high heat and leave for a few minutes until piping hot. Meanwhile, mix the prawns and squid with the rest of the oil and pinch of salt. Grill them in small batches, turning them over after 1 minute and continuing until just done ( roughly 1 more minute for the squid and 2-3 for the prawns). Transfer to a chopping board and slice the squid into which rings. You can leave the prawns whole or cut them in half.
Add the seafood to the salad bowl and toss together. You can serve immediately or leave it in the fridge for up to 24 hours. To serve, stir in the sumac and coriander, then taste and adjust the seasoning . When pomegranate is available, it makes a beautiful garnish.
Tip: The 2 things I would do … Don’t cut the fennel to fine, the dish needs the crunch. This dish is lovely if eaten immediately but it really sings if left in the fridge overnight.
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