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Salt and pepper squid

When we order Chinese, one of my favourite dishes is the salt and pepper squid. This is usually deep-fried, but can you make a version that is both healthier and does not have the potential to start a fire? More to the point, could I?

Well, a Rick Stein recipe on the BBC Food website looked fairly straightforward. I rather like Rick Stein– when he did his Christmas special last month he admitted at the start that he was filming it at the height of summer, and his fish and chip shop in Padstow serves the joint-best fish and chips I have ever tasted (the other one can be found in Hastings; with all due respect to Poseidon in East Finchley, fish and chips always taste better when you can smell the sea). So I trusted his salt and pepper squid recipe. Which had the virtue of having not many ingredients; less is more!

I acquired the squid from our wonderful local fishmonger on the High Road. The guy even cleaned it for me, which was just as well as I’d’ve had no idea how to go about that.

The recipe called for two types of pepper – regular black pepper and sichuan/szechwan pepper; luckily we have both in our flat! The peppercorns had to be dry-fried and crushed with a mortar and pestle (which one is which?) before the salt was added.

Each squid ‘pouch’ had to be opened out flat and scored, with any remaining entrail-like bits being scraped off before I cut it into squares. 

Frying the squid in a small amount of oil rather than half a pan of the stuff was quick, and it was a matter of minutes before the salt-and-pepper mixture was added. Then it was just a question of throwing in the spring onions and the chilli, stirring everything together and serving.

Quick, easy and delicious, even if I do say so myself!

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