Sunday, 8 June 2014

Salt and pepper Squid

 I love seafood in all of its guises, you name it i'll eat it. It's funny I could probably live my life happily as a vegetarian, but seafood would be the chink in my armour, I know a lot of vegetarians who have fallen off the wagon purely from the smell of cooking bacon, well seafood cooking for me is like my bacon, I cannot resist it.
 Squid is one of those funny things that people are absolutely petrified of, they do not know how to deal with it, granted it is probably not the most approachable or aesthetically pleasing, however it is a very easy thing to prepare and even easier if you have a fabulous fish monger who will do it for you. I think that for a lot of people squid is probably associated with terrible european all inclusive holidays, where calamari probably serves a greater 
purpose as a hair bobble than an appetising dish. Squid is so underrated and is so delicious when cooked properly, it either has to be cooked very quickly on a very high heat or cooked low and slow for a long time. Salt and pepper squid is one of those fabulous dishes that unfortunately has somehow gotten lost in translation, we have managed to westernise a dish that is pure perfection in its own right, much like carbonara, pizza, korma, you name it, us brits have somehow managed to destroy the integrity and origins of the dish. I happen to think that salt and pepper squid when cooked in this wonderful way could even sway the most squeamish of folk. It is so very simple to do and unbelievably delicious, if my husband can make this recipe anyone can, I urge you to try......

You will need:
400g of cleaned squid, the tubes scored and beaks removed from the tentacles 
1 1/2 tbsp of shaoxing rice wine
3 eggs beaten
12 tbsp of corn or potato flour
12 tbsp of plain flour
1/2 tsp of sichuan pepper corns
1 tsp of black pepper corns
2 1/2 tsp of maldon sea salt
600ml of vegetable oil to fry
4 tbsp of chopped garlic
4 tbsp chopped spring onions, both white and green parts
2 large chopped red chillies
2 large chopped green chillies

 The first thing to do is to clean and prepare your squid, score the tubes in a diamond fashion but do not cut through the squid, but each tube into three, remove all beaks from the tentacles, if you have a great fishmonger they will do it for you. Once the squid is prepared place it into a bowl and allow it to marinate in the rice wine for 15 minutes. Meanwhile prepare the crispy coating for the squid, place the plain flour on one plate, in a bowl whisk the eggs until fully mixed, lastly place the corn or potato flour onto another plate but add the salt and both types of ground peppercorns (please freshly grind them, even better if they are toasted first), mix the seasoning into the flour thoroughly.

 Heat up the oil, then dry the squid onto kitchen paper. Firstly dip  each piece of squid into the plain flour, then the egg followed by the seasoned corn flour, then straight into the hot oil, it should take only a minute to fry the squid but try not to overcrowd the pan as it will reduce the heat in the oil. Place the cooked pieces of squid onto a kitchen paper until they are all cooked. Drain away all of the oil from the pan apart from 2 tablespoons and then fry the aromatics, garlic, spring onion and the chillies until they a softened and smell delicious, quickly toss in the squid and coat with the aromatics. Turn of the heat and serve immediately.

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