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Salt and Pepper Squid

by . Featured in NIGELLA BITES, and Nigella Quick Collection
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Introduction

This is unexpectedly easy to shop for as well as easy to cook. Baby squid (better here than tougher, grown-up, windsock-sized ones) can be found, frozen, in 500g boxes, to be stashed in your freezer and thawed as needed. And while any recipe that involves a pestle and mortar can seem like too much kitchen faffing when you get back from work, let me tell you that a bit of murderous bashing can be a great stress-relieving exercise.

But if you're not convinced (and believe me I understand: until recently I had only to read the words 'pestle and mortar' to be filled with dread and intimidation) you can always use one of those little electric coffee-bean or spice grinders for blitzing the salt and pepper. Already-ground pepper and fine salt is not an impossible option; I won't pretend they'll be as good, but as long as you don't use that school-pepper-container dust - more sneeze-powder than aromatic spice - it'll be just fine.

This is unexpectedly easy to shop for as well as easy to cook. Baby squid (better here than tougher, grown-up, windsock-sized ones) can be found, frozen, in 500g boxes, to be stashed in your freezer and thawed as needed. And while any recipe that involves a pestle and mortar can seem like too much kitchen faffing when you get back from work, let me tell you that a bit of murderous bashing can be a great stress-relieving exercise.

But if you're not convinced (and believe me I understand: until recently I had only to read the words 'pestle and mortar' to be filled with dread and intimidation) you can always use one of those little electric coffee-bean or spice grinders for blitzing the salt and pepper. Already-ground pepper and fine salt is not an impossible option; I won't pretend they'll be as good, but as long as you don't use that school-pepper-container dust - more sneeze-powder than aromatic spice - it'll be just fine.

Salt and Pepper Squid
Photo by Francesca Yorke

Ingredients

Serves: 2

Metric Cups
  • approx. 500 millilitres groundnut oil (to come about 1cm / ½ inch up in a frying pan)
  • 2 tablespoons maldon salt
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 75 grams cornflour
  • 500 grams baby squid (cut into rings, tentacles left unchopped)
  • lemon for squeezing
  • 2 cups peanut oil (to come about 1cm / ½ inch up in a frying pan)
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt flakes
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • ¾ cup cornstarch
  • 1 pound baby squid (cut into rings, tentacles left unchopped)
  • lemon for squeezing

Method

  1. Put the oil in a frying pan over a high heat.
  2. Bash the salt and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar till a bit more than bruised but not quite pulverised, and combine this mixture in a freezer bag with the cornflour, adding the squid and tossing to coat well but not heavily.
  3. When the oil's very hot - not quite smoking but nearly - fry the squid (knocking any excess cornflour back in the bag first) in batches (about four, probably) and cook each batch for about a minute or so till just crisp on the outside and still sweet and tender within. You probably won't need to turn the squid since the oil should bubble up and cook both sides at once, but do if you feel better.
  4. Remove to plates lined with kitchen towel.
  5. After the squid's sat for about half a minute, remove the greasy towel - though sometimes, I dispense with this faddy stage - squeeze lemon over and eat with your fingers - quickly.
  1. Put the oil in a frying pan over a high heat.
  2. Bash the salt and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar till a bit more than bruised but not quite pulverised, and combine this mixture in a freezer bag with the cornstarch, adding the squid and tossing to coat well but not heavily.
  3. When the oil's very hot - not quite smoking but nearly - fry the squid (knocking any excess cornstarch back in the bag first) in batches (about four, probably) and cook each batch for about a minute or so till just crisp on the outside and still sweet and tender within. You probably won't need to turn the squid since the oil should bubble up and cook both sides at once, but do if you feel better.
  4. Remove to plates lined with kitchen towel.
  5. After the squid's sat for about half a minute, remove the greasy towel - though sometimes, I dispense with this faddy stage - squeeze lemon over and eat with your fingers - quickly.

Tell us what you think

What 3 Others have said

  • I will have to make this for the weekend! Arthur www.arthur-in-the-garden.com

    Posted by Arthur in the Garden! on 28th June 2013
  • Absolutely amazing! So yum and so so easy!! I couldn't get baby squid but the normal ones we get were fine :)

    Posted by brontelewis on 24th April 2013
  • This recipe is far better than any other have tried. It leaves the big squid miles behind. Fantastic, thank you Nigella. Kind regards Boyd

    Posted by boydackland on 22nd January 2013
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