JOANNA'S FOOD: family cooking, from scratch, every day

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quick squid salad

I dropped in to the butcher this morning to buy a steak for Horatio to cook for his supper while we're out dancing at a party. They had lovely whole squid, and I couldn't resist buying one for my lunch.

For years, I've used a Nigella method of cooking squid: you just dust the rings and tentacles in a mixture of cornflour and pepper (lots of it), then shallow fry in hot oil, and eat with lemon juice. Quick and easy, even when you're buying whole squid rather than prepared rings.

Nigella's just started a new series on television, rather irritating, but, even so, I can't seem to bear to miss it. Television, of course, devours ideas, and so the squid recipe has had to move on. Last week she rolled out her squid, as if new, using the same method, but, crucially, one more ingredient: semolina "for essential crunch" (2tbsp cornflour to 4tbsp semolina, plus pepper). Result? Something pretty soggy; delicious but soggy. Stick to the first, crisp, recipe ... here it is:

Salt and Pepper Squid for
from Nigella Bites

Oil - 1 cm in your pan
2tbsp Maldon salt
2tbsp black peppercorns
75g cornflour
500g squid, cut into rings + tentacles

Bash the peppercorns with the salt, add the cornflour, mix in the squid. Heat the oil until it's nearly smoking, then add the squid in a single layer, in batches if necessary. They take a minute or so, and probably won't need turning. Drain them on some kitchen roll before serving.

I don't generally bother with the salt, and I eat this on a bed of torn lettuce. Just don't bother with the semolina.


Cottage Smallholder said...

We love squid and haven't eten it for ages. Thanks for the nudge.

Someone tipped us to sprinkle semolina on roast potatoes. It didn't work either...

Joanna said...

Yes, I often forget about it, too, but that's partly because I'm the only one in the house who really likes it.

I've heard of people putting semolina on roast potatoes, but never tried it. Now I don't need to, so thanks for that good piece of information!


Ed Bruske said...

Squid are a wonderful thing, and too often neglected. Yet they are one of those things you can safely eat these days without doing any damage to the ocean environment. Switch from sole to squid and you will be doing the world a favor.

Joanna said...

Ed - I am ashamed to say that this particular squid was such an impulse purchase that I didn't even think about sustainability. Mainly we eat farmed salmon from the Orkneys (and if that's not available then I buy something else, because I know there are problems with farming salmon, and I know that they are minimised there - probably elsewhere, too, but I don't know about them), anchovies both salted and canned (but mainly canned), mackerel, kippers, and cold water shrimps. I am adding rope-grown mussels to that list, because I have recently discovered that they are positively beneficial to the waters in which they grow. If we are in Cornwall, we eat megrum, which is a very small, neglected type of sole, but you rarely see it on sale anywhere else. Anything else I could easily add to that list? I'd be glad of some suggestions ...


Amanda at Little Foodies said...

We love squid and it's always good to find out how everyone likes to cook theirs.

Nigella was the hot topic of conversation when we were out for dinner last night. We were all in agreement that the new series wasn't doing it for any of us but that we still felt we had to watch it. I understand the new book is good, however I'm on a cook book diet so must not purchase.