It couldn’t be easier than this. Regulars on this blog know I am not fond of deep frying, or even frying at all. So I decided to baptize one of the new woks by making some deep fried salt and pepper squid. Go figure. I didn’t even have time to look up a recipe, so I improvised and it turned out far better than I would have expected. First, we cleaned up all of the tentacles from a kilo worth of small squid. Then I cut up some bodies of squid into small rings. These were then thoroughly dried with paper towels…
Into a mortar, I added a tablespoon or so of good black peppercorns and a tablespoon of kosher salt. I crushed this with the pestle and kept grinding it until I had a nice fine salty/peppery powder. I mixed this peppery mixture into about 1/2 cup of cornstarch (could use flour or even rice flour) and dredged the squid pieces, shaking off the excess starch. Meanwhile, I placed several cups of oil into a wok and heated that up.
Using long chopsticks, I lowered some of the battered squid into the hot oil and watched as it almost instantly tensed up and the cornstarch turned into a crisp and crunchy coating on the curly tentacles of the squid. After it slightly browned, we removed the fried salt & pepper squid and served it with some lemon wedges. A nice sprinkling of vinegar would have been delicious as well. Surprisingly, frying in a wok seems less daunting than frying in a more traditional straight sided pan. There weren’t as many splatters, and as long as you don’t overcrowd the pan, the temperature of the fat remains pretty high.
The results, while a bit too peppery for some, were delicious. It took just a minute or less in the fat to get a nice crisp exterior and still moist and chewy interior. Yum!
Note: Photos of squid frying in fat taken by Mrs. MM.