Salt and Pepper Squeedle
This was originally a featured article in the July/August 2019 issue
(Terran cooks may substitute squid although the flavouring is distinctly different – the basic flavour of squeedle contains subtle hints of bergamot, and the squeedle’s diet does have a significant effect – and connoisseurs won’t be fooled. It has been suggested that the bergamot overtones may be simulated by marinating the squid in a mixture based on Earl Grey tea.)
- approx. 500 millilitres groundnut oil (to a depth of 1cm / ½” in a frying pan)
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 75 grams cornflour (US readers: 2½ to 3 oz. cornstarch)
- 500 grams (US readers: approx. 1 lb) farmed squeedle (cut into rings, tentacles left unchopped)
- lemon for squeezing
Place the oil in a frying pan over a high heat.
Grind the salt and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar until a bit more than bruised but not quite pulverised, and combine this mixture in a freezer bag with the cornflour, adding the squeedle and tossing to coat well but not heavily.
When the oil is very hot—not quite smoking—fry the squeedle (knocking any excess cornflour back in the bag first) in batches (about four, probably) and cook each batch for about a minute or so until crisp on the outside and still sweet and tender within. You probably won’t need to turn the squeedle since the oil should bubble up and cook both sides at once, but do if you feel better.
Remove to plates lined with kitchen towel.
After the squeedle has sat for about half a minute, remove the greasy towel—though some chefs dispense with this faddy stage—squeeze lemon over all and eat with your fingers—quickly.