Sunday, 10 July 2011
Crispy Calamari with Samphire & Ginger Aioli
I'm back I'm back I'm back! We fiiiiiiiinally got a phone line put in at our new house on Friday and so I am back with you in the online land of the living! Let's celebrate with some tasty fried food, deal?
Well it's safe to say that the last few months have been eventful to say the least - Pete, Cleo and I moved into a gorgeous Grade II listed terrace that we are all in love with. It was completely refurbished shortly before we moved in and has an adorable little private garden at the back with raised decking where I can sit barbecuing and drinking Pimms. I was a little worried as my new kitchen is quite a bit smaller than the last, but I'm coping ok - I am having to keep some of my kitchen appliances on top of the wall units but its a small sacrifice to pay to have such a lovely home.
I have also passed my driving test (first time, POW!) and properly opened my little bakery business www.sweet-treat-boutique.co.uk. It's still only in my free time from my full time job but its a start and its going really well - I am supplying the coffee shop of my local department store Tylers with my cakes and bakes as well as doing any custom orders I am receiving. But anyway, onto the food...
You can guarantee that if there is calamari on the menu I will order it. I love love love the stuff but find that I can often be disappointed at either a too heavy batter or over cooked rubbery squid. It's also not the kind of thing I'd like to cook a lot myself. Aside from the calorie content I really do hate deep frying stuff as I mentioned in my very first post - the things I do for you guys huh?
Now I buy my squid frozen in boxes from my local Chinese supermarket, but this means I have to prepare it myself as they are whole. One of the perks of this is that you get the tentacles, and they are my favourite part to eat. Preparing it yourself is a little messy and time consuming and I know some people will be too squeamish, but don't worry, you can buy cleaned squid tubes and even pre-cut squid rings from most supermarkets now. If you would like to try preparing it yourself, you can either shoot me an email via the link at the side, or just Google for instructions - there are even some videos on YouTube if you prefer to learn visually.
The samphire also needs a little preparation work and is now available from most fishmongers and I believe Asda now sell packets of it. I got mine from one of the stalls on Loughborough Market - a nice handful is more than you need and despite it being the new in food to eat it only cost £1.40. To prepare it all you need to do is pull off any thick roots or discoloured parts and give it a good wash with cold water. Easy. You'll probably have some leftover, so I suggest throwing it in a little potato salad or adding it to some pasta with flaked salmon, lemon juice and parmesan.
The actual deep frying itself is I admit very easy, just make sure you use a splash guard as it can be prone to spit fat when you add the squid. Don't be afraid, it is so very worth it! You want to start by preparing the aioli, so lets get straight to it...
Samphire and Ginger Aioli
Makes about 1 cup
1 large clove of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg yolk, from a large room temperature egg
150ml extra virgin olive oil
100ml standard olive oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp runny honey
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
25g samphire, steamed for 3-4 minutes and finely chopped
Crush the garlic clove with the salt into a paste and put into a large bowl with the egg yolk and whisk together. You now need to combine the oils and drizzle them into the egg yolk mixture very very slowly as you whisk - I did this with the whisk attachment on my KitchenAid but you could either use a food processor or do it by hand. Just make sure the oil is added slowly and in a very thin stream - you can see the technique on one of the pictures above.
Once all the oil has been added and the aioli has thickened up it's time to add the flavourings. You want to whisk in the ginger, honey and vinegars and then mix the finely chopped samphire in with a spoon. Keep the aioli covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Serves 2 as a main, 4 as a starter
500g squid rings (and tentacles if you can get them)
2 tbsp cornflour
4 tbsp fine cornmeal / semolina
1 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
enough vegetable oil to fill your pan 1.5-2" deep
Heat the oil in a medium sized saucepan over a high heat.
Put the cornfour, cornmeal, salt and paprika into a zipper top food bag and mix around before adding the squid. Zip up the bag and give it a good shake around making sure you coat all the squid.
When your oil looks like it is shimmering test that it is hot enough by adding a little pinch of flour. If it sizzles you're ready to go.
Fry the squid in batches until it reaches a crispy golden brown colour - this will only take a minute or two - and remove it to some kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.
Serve up with the aioli and a little salad and dig in!