From Seaside Specials With Lesley Waters and John Whaite on the 'Big Eat' on Food Network UK...
If you read my tweets or follow my Instagram you'll know my feelings towards this dish... It would be served as starter for my final meal. I cannot get enough of it and served with a cold beer, it's one of the greatest food and drink combos ever!
my salt and pepper squid
For the squid:
- 500g baby squid, cleaned and with the tentacles reserved
- 100g cornflour
- 100g plain flour
- 2 tablespoons Szechuan peppercorns, lightly crushed
- ½ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 10 large garlic cloves
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the dipping sauce:
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1 red chilli, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce
- Fresh coriander and lime wedges to serve
Heat a wok or deep fat fryer to about 160°C.
While the oil is heating up crush the garlic in a pestle and mortar, don’t over pound it as you want to keep it in good bits and not pureed. Once the oil is ready, cook the garlic until caramelised and crispy, they will float to the top of the hot oil once cooked, remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper.
Set aside in a warm oven while you fry the squid. Open the body of the squid, take a sharp knife and gently score the inside of the flesh of the squid, be careful not to cut all the way through.
Crush the Szechuan peppercorns and 5 spice in a pestle and mortar, you still want a little texture in the pepper so do not pound to a powder. Add the salt and crush lightly again, put it into a ziplock bag with the two flours and shake well.
Put the prepared squid into the bag of seasoned flour and toss quickly as you don’t want the squid to get over coated in the flour.
Increase the temperature of the oil to around 185°C. You can check that the oil is up to temperature by dropping a small piece of bread into the oil; this will go golden brown quickly.
Drop the squid into the hot oil, cooking it in 3 or 4 batches, frying to 4 or 5 minutes. As soon as the squid is cooked the bodies will curl up, they will be crispy and a nicely golden brown, remove them with a slotted spoon and drain it on some kitchen paper. Keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining squid.
Make the sauce by mixing all the ingredients together, mix well and put into a suitable serving bowl. When all the squid is cooked, toss with the caramelised garlic and sprinkle with coriander leaves.
Serve with lime wedges and the dipping sauce.