Squid are amazing creatures, to me they look more like something from outerspace than anything you might find in the sea.
They are incredibly versatile and only need a matter of minutes to cook, for example they are brilliant simply chargrilled and served with a dollop of salsa verde or a gremolata (see my gurnard recipe). If you have any recipes you’ve ever used that you’d like to share here, please do as the whole point of my Fish Fight Friday feature is to encourage people to feel confident to cook a wider range of fish, or as Hugh puts it to encourage people to ‘get adventurous’. For the latest on the campaign have a look at the Fish Fight website and if you haven’t already, sign the petition!
I find it really hard to go to a Spanish restaurant and not order calamari, which considering I lived in Madrid for a year means I’ve eaten a lot of deep fried squid in my time. I figured it’s probably about time I made this obsession a touch healthier, so here’s a wheat free version that is shallow rather than deep fried.
For the squid: 1 medium squid (cleaned), 1 egg beaten, 100g quick cook polenta, 1 tsp sumac (optional), 100ml groundnut oil, lemon / lime wedges to serve
For the mayonnaise: 1 egg, 1/4 tsp dijon mustard, 1/2 lemon, 100ml olive oil, 50ml extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp harissa (Belazu do a nice rose harissa)
Squid are fairly simple to prepare, although your fishmonger should do it for you if you ask here’s a brief guide: you simply pull everything out from inside the body, scrape away all the membrane, chop off the head (but keep the tentacles) and give it a good rinse under cold water. For this recipe cut the body into rings, divide up the tentacles and slice the wings, like this:
Beat the egg and season with salt and pepper. Spread the polenta out onto a large plate and mix in the teaspoon of sumac (if using). Dip the pieces of squid in the beaten egg (shake off any excess) and then coat in the polenta. Set to one side.
For this mayonnaise use the whole egg, it makes it a bit lighter and super smooth, it also means you’re not left with a spare egg white. A chef I once worked with had learnt this working with Heston Blumenthal and quite frankly if it’s good enough for Heston… In the bowl of the magimix put the egg, dijon, lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blitz until it is all well combined. Then, with the motor running, pour the oils in very very slowly to create an emulsion. Keep pouring until it is thick like mayonnaise and then stir through the harissa. If you mess it all up and are left with a runny mess, simply blitz up another egg and pour your sloppy mixture onto that egg, but SLOWER this time and you’ll need some more olive oil.
When you’re ready to cook the squid, preheat the oven to 120c and heat the groundnut oil (or sunflower if you have some) in a frying pan on the hob. Cook the squid in batches, for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tray lined with kitchen paper, keep warm in the oven while you cook the rest.
Serve with a nice green salad, some wedges of lime and your harissa mayonnaise.