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Calamari Coating Using Polenta

Asked by jessquirke. Answered on 29th August 2014

Full question

Hi I'm going to make the Quick Calamari from Express (can't wait!) and wondered if the semolina could be swapped for polenta? Many thanks

Our answer

Nigella's Quick Calamari With Garlic Mayonnnaise recipe (from Nigella Express and on the Nigella website) doesn't use a batter to coat the squid rings. Instead the calamari is tossed in a combination of cornflour (cornstarch) and semolina and then fried. The semolina gives the squid a particularly crunchy coating.

Semolina and polenta can be interchangeable, though not in all recipes. For the calamari we suspect that it is possible to use polenta or cornmeal instead but you must still use cornflour in the recipe. Polenta will give the calamari a golden yellow colour before it is fried and it will be more difficult to tell when the squid is cooked as you can't look for the change to a golden colour as the squid fries. Be careful not to over cook the squid as it will become rubbery, we suggest test frying a small batch first for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes to get your frying times right. We would also mention that polenta comes in different sized grains and you will want to use a very fine polenta. If ithe polenta is too coarse then the coating on the squid will be gritty and unpalatable.

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