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Crispy calamari with garlic & lemon mayonnaise
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Serves: 4 as a starter
500g squid (from the fish counter), defrosted if frozen
1 British Blacktail Medium Free Range Egg, beaten
100ml whole milk
100g plain flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed in a pestle and mortar
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
2 lemons, cut into wedges
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
For the garlic & lemon mayonnaise
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ lemon, finely grated zest and juice
1. Remove the tentacles from inside the squid, then cut them in half lengthways and set aside on kitchen paper.
2. Next, either slice the squid tubes into about 1-1.5cm to give classic rings or, using a sharp knife, open the squid by cutting it lengthways along the natural seam that runs along its length, to give a flat piece. Scrape off any loose pieces from inside then, using the tip of the knife, score the inside with straight lines 0.5cm apart, without cutting through the flesh. Turn the squid 90º and score in the opposite direction, giving a neat criss-cross pattern. With the widest part of the flat piece in front of you, cut straight down the middle and then cut each half into 3 or 4 equal parts in the opposite direction, depending on the size of the squid. Pat dry on kitchen paper.
3. Mix the egg and milk in a bowl, then add all the squid and tentacles and mix thoroughly. In another large bowl, mix the flour with a generous amount of seasoning, cayenne pepper, paprika and the crushed fennel seeds. Using a slotted spoon to get rid of any excess egg and milk mixture, transfer the squid into the seasoned flour and toss until well coated.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan to 180º-190ºC (or when a cube of bread browns within about 15 seconds). Meanwhile, mix all the mayo ingredients together and set aside.
5. When the oil is hot, carefully add the squid and fry in small batches, for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen paper. While hot, season and add a squeeze of lemon. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately with the mayo. Or, for a more substantial meal, serve with a large bowl of skinny chips and a side salad.
You can prepare the tentacles and squid several hours in advance, or up to the night before. Cover and chill until it’s time to cook.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in August 2020.