Crispy squid with garlic mayonnaise

  • For the crispy squid
  • 225g groundnut oil or as needed, depending on the size of pan
  • About 255g frozen squid (tubes and tentacles) to give about 200g unfrozen
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp semolina
  • 1 tsp crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay) or use salt and paprika
  • Garlic mayonnaise, recipe follows
  • For the garlic mayonnaise
  • 1/4 clove garlic
  • 4 tbsp best quality, preferably organic, mayonnaise
Strange though it might sound to say it, this is another of my supper-standbys. I keep the frozen squid in the deep-freeze, taking it out in the morning at breakfast to let it thaw in time for the evening's meal. I prefer to eat a massive amount of this, and nothing else (I can eat the whole lot myself) rather than have it more meanly as a starter unless, in a life outside of this chapter's parameters, I'm expecting company, in which case it would happily stretch to 4 people, ready to dunk each crisp piece of squid into the garlic mayonnaise over pre-dinner drinks.
I feel the ghost of Elizabeth David spitting at my calling this 'crispy' squid, but that's what I habitually call it at home, and I beg forgiveness of the pedants, with whom I have some sympathy.

1) Heat the oil in a smallish saucepan and while it's left to heat up cut the thawed squid into 1cm rings.

2) Put the cornflour, semolina and seasoning into a plastic freezer bag. Add the squid rings and tentacles and then toss to coat.

3) When the oil is hot enough, which is when it sizzles up fiercely when you drop in a small cube of bread, fry the squid in batches to get the most golden crunchiness. A couple of minutes per batch is all you should need.

4) For the garlic mayonnaise, mince the garlic into the mayonnaise to serve alongside the fried squid.

Recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson (published by Chatto & Windus) Visit Nigella's site.

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