This is a short and sweet post designed to give you a recipe to perk up a dreary January evening. If you, like me, have checked the weather forecast for this weekend and thought ‘bleurgh!!’ then this is just what you need.
Salt and pepper squid is an absolute favourite. Perfect eaten as nibbles with a cold, cold glass of white wine or beer (even better on a warm summers evening but I’m afraid that’s beyond my offerings) or it makes a lovely, relaxed starter. Nothing beats taking a crisp and tender, hot squid ring and dipping it in sweet, sticky sweet chilli sauce or a pungent, garlicky aioli.
Lots of people are put off by the frying aspect of this, but I can assure you it’s really easy and doesn’t create an oily kitchen mess and nor is the squid very greasy to consume. Happily, most of the oil used for frying is dispensed with at the end. I’m afraid I don’t have any photos of this stage of the process as it’s rather fiddly (not to mention hazardous) to be photo snapping and frying at the same time. However, trust me when I say this is a snip to prepare and the lucky people who get to eat it will eternally thank you.
500g cleaned squid, cut into rings and tentacles left unchopped
500 ml groundnut, sunflower or vegetable oil
2 tablespoons flaky sea salt
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
50g plain flour
Bash the salt, peppercorns and chilli flakes in a pestle and mortar till the peppercorns are squished and they’re all mixed together. Combine this in a bowl with the flours so it’s evenly mixed, and then add the squid and toss to coat.
Put the oil in a wok over a high heat. When the oil is very hot (a cube of bread will brown in 30 seconds) but not quite smoking, knock the excess flour off the squid and fry (you may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your pan).
Cook each batch for about a minute or two until golden and crisp. Do not be tempted to overcook as this is how you end up with rubbery squid!
When each batch is ready, take it out the oil with a slotted spoon and place onto a plate lined with kitchen paper.
When it’s ready, serve quickly on a fresh plate or bowl with lime or lemon wedges for drizzling, sweet chilli sauce and garlic aioli.
- Will feed 2-4 people depending on how it’s being serves (in my experience it’s very popular so make a double batch if you have more people!)