Salt and pepper squid

This dish is unbelievably easy, but does take some preparation. The clever trick that gets the best results is to make sure you dry the squid thoroughly. The secret is to dry well when whole and then dry again after chopping.

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking: 3-4 minutes

You’ll need a large pot.

Ingredients - serves six

  • 400g fresh or frozen squid
  • One cup of plain flour
  • Lots of salt
  • Lots of pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • Lemon for squirting

Get cooking

Pour about two inches of vegetable oil into a large saucepan ready for deep-frying. If you’ve brought a wok along with you all the better. 

Dry the whole squid thoroughly in a tea towel. If you are using the frozen variety you find in some supermarkets you’ll find that the tentacles have already been cut away and are tucked up inside the body. You can squeeze the tentacles out once the squid has thawed. If you’re lucky enough to have found whole squid, then you’ll have to cut away the tentacles and remove the purple ‘skin’ from the body. Keep the tentacles because you will be eating those too! Pull out the transparent ‘spine’ from the body and discard. 

Chop the bodies of the squid into rings, and once again dry thoroughly using kitchen roll. Put the flour into a bowl and grind in plenty of black pepper – a good dessertspoon ought do the trick! Throw in five good pinches of flaked sea salt and mix with your fingers.

Before you coat the squid with the seasoned flour, you need to make sure the oil in the pan is hot for deep-frying. My old home economics teacher, Mrs Walker, used to say a good cook never fries ‘til he sees the blue smoke rise! Once the oil heats up, toss the squid thoroughly through the seasoned flour, ensuring each piece of squid is well coated.

Carefully spoon the coated squid into the hot oil. It should effervesce immediately. Deep fry for three or four minutes, you’ll see the coating turn a lovely golden colour. Lift out with a slotted spoon into a bowl lined with a couple of sheets of kitchen roll. Let drain for a couple of seconds then remove the kitchen roll. 

Halve the lemon and squeeze over the squid just before serving.

Good on its own as a starter – Mexican beer and crusty bread for a light lunch!

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