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Recipe Of The Month: Olives

Seared squid, herb and olive salad (Serves 4)

200g cherry or plum tomatoes
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
400g small squid with tentacles, cleaned
100g large green olives, pitted
2 red chillies, finely chopped
Pinch of caster sugar
½ lemon, juice only
Handful Thai or standard basil leaves
Small handful coriander leaves
250g ripe heirloom tomatoes, sliced
Small handful parsley leaves

1- Preheat the grill to medium. Toss the cherry tomatoes with ½ tablespoon of olive oil, spread them out on a baking tray and grill for about 5 minutes, turning when halfway done, until the skins begin to char and blister. Set aside.

2- Open the squid hoods out flat by making a cut from top to bottom. Use a sharp knife to score the squid in a crosshatch pattern (or you can ask your fishmonger to prepare the squid for you).

3- Finely chop half the olives and slice the other half (reserve these). Combine the chopped olives with one of the chopped chillies, the sugar, 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the lemon juice. Finely chop 2 tablespoons of the basil and add this, along with 1 tablespoon of water, to make a dressing. Season to taste.

4- Put the remaining 1½ tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Add the squid and the remaining chilli. Fry briskly for 2 minutes until the squid has turned bright white and curled up. Season with salt and pepper.

5- Combine the cooked squid with the grilled tomatoes, sliced heirloom tomatoes, whole parsley leaves and sliced olives. Divide among 4 serving plates and spoon the dressing over.

Sea trout en papillote with olives, artichokes, basil and broad beans (Serves 4)

1 lemon, halved
4 small young artichoke (or 4 marinated artichoke hearts in oil, drained and quartered)
4 plump sea trout or salmon fillets (about 175g each)
Handful green olives, pitted
100g broad beans, (podded weight) blanched and podded
Handful basil leaves
50ml white wine
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve

1- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a mixing bowl and fill with cold water. Pull the outer leaves from each artichoke and use a sharp knife to peel and trim the stem. Cut off the pointed ends of the leaves and use a teaspoon to take the hairy “choke” out of each (very young artichokes won’t have formed a choke). Drop the artichokes into salted, boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes, until tender. Refresh under cool water, drain and quarter.

2- Cut out four 30cm squares of baking parchment. Place a trout or salmon fillet in the centre of each square and divide the quartered artichokes, olives, broad beans and basil among them. Season well with salt and pepper.

3- Fold each square loosely over the fish to make four parcels, allowing extra room for steam. Before sealing, divide the wine and oil among them. The paper should hold if firmly folded, but secure it with string for extra security, if you wish.

4- Bake for approximately 15 minutes until the fish just flakes when pressed. Unwrap the parcels at the table, and drizzle with a little extra olive oil.

Halloumi, olive and watermelon salad (Serves 4)

800g ripe watermelon, peeled and seeded
250g halloumi, cut into 1cm-thick slices
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
50g Kalamata or similar black olives, pitted
50g wild rocket leaves
2 tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted

1- Cut the watermelon flesh into chunks.

2- Place a griddle pan over a high heat until smoking hot. Coat the halloumi slices with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry for 1 minute on each side, until they develop griddle marks.

3- Combine the grilled halloumi with the watermelon, olives, rocket, vinegar and remaining oil. Scatter with the pumpkin seeds and season with plenty of salt and freshly ground black pepper before serving.

Olive Fougasse (Makes 4 loaves)

600g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
15g fresh yeast or 7g fast-acting dried yeast
2 tsp sea salt, plus extra to scatter over before baking
75ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Coarse semolina for dusting
120g pitted green or black olives, chopped

1- Combine half the flour with the yeast and 250ml hand-hot water in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon (or a mixer paddle attachment) for 3 minutes. Cover with oiled clingfilm and set aside in a warm (not hot) place for 3–4 hours. The dough will rise and fall during this time.

2- Add the remaining flour, 50ml hand-hot water, salt and oil. Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface, or in a mixer using a dough hook, for about 10 minutes, until elastic and smooth.

3- Cover the bowl with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise for an hour in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size. (Alternatively, refrigerate to rise overnight, but remove the bowl from the fridge at least 30 minutes before baking).

4- Preheat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8. Punch the dough firmly and halve it. Lightly oil two large, flat baking sheets and sprinkle lightly with semolina. Knead in the olives and divide the dough into four pieces.

5- On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece out to a 3cm-thick oval. Place two ovals on each baking sheet, then cut two short, vertical lines up the centre and three short diagonal slashes up each half. Gently pull each cut apart to form oblong holes.

6- Cover with damp tea towels or oiled clingfilm and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes. Drizzle with olive oil, scatter with sea salt and bake for 15 minutes until golden. Cool on wire racks.

Need a delectable dessert? Try our Recipe Of The Month: Coffee

Plus, check out our Coffee Guide

Recipes written by Alice Hart.

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