I was particularly excited when, a few weeks ago, a new fishmonger opened at Brighton (Brighton Fresh Seafoods, in the Brighton Central shopping centre, on the corner of Brighton Road and Edwards Street). The selection of fish you can buy in the supermarket is dire (tough luck if you want anything local and fresh other than salmon) and our nearest fishmonger is in Westfield Marion which is not always a … um … pleasant shopping experience!
So I was keen to try out the new shop and Andy decided he was keen for making some salt and pepper squid. It’s taken us so long to purchase some Szechuan peppercorns that we’re now trying to use them in pretty much anything. And we had fresh oil in the fryer that had been used for chips a couple of times so we figured one more batch of chips and some S&P squid would be a fitting end to it.
I ended up picking up some thawed Australian squid rings and set about researching how best to do salt and pepper squid. Providing you have a deep fat fryer, it’s actually very easy and while I will provide you with a ‘recipe’ (of sorts) the important things are the RICE FLOUR (note – flour, not ground rice!) and the egg whites. Dabbing the squid dry (especially if it is thawed) is quite important – if only to solve the problem of the fryer spitting. And don’t be tempted to make a batter – a two step process is how you want to proceed.
In terms of flavouring – work with what you like and fry up a couple of rings first to check that you have the balance to your taste. Our first effort was overpowered with Chinese five spice (I would say that – I don’t particularly like it!) so we adjusted this by adding more Szechuan pepper. If you don’t have Szechuan pepper, you could try using chilli flakes, pepper and salt. And, of course, a really good way of adding extra heat is to make up a batch of a spice mix to serve on the side.
- 500 g squid rings, thawed (if previously frozen) and dried with kitchen towel
- 2 egg whites, very lightly beaten
- ~ 4 tbsp rice flour
- spices to your taste, for example
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 tsp Szechuan pepper
- pinch of Chinese five spice
- Heat the oil in your deep fat fryer to 190°C.
- Place the rice flour and spices in a large, shallow bowl and mix well.
- Dip the rings a couple at a time in the egg whites and then dip in the flour and spice mix.
- Fry the rings until golden and crispy, turning once. Don't overload the fryer - for most domestic fryers start with about 4 rings and see how you go.
- Remove from the fryer and drain on kitchen towel. Allow to cool slightly and taste to ensure the spice blend is right for you.
- Keep the cooked rings warm in the oven as you fry the remainder.
- Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon.