- 4 large red-skinned potatoes, peeled and cut into thick chips
- Sunflower or groundnut oil, for deep frying
- 750g fresh squid, cleaned and cut into rings or strips, depending on the size
- 150g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- About 250ml sparkling water
For the tartare sauce
- 1 small preserved lemon, chopped
- 6 cocktail gherkins, chopped
- 1 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped
- Large handful fresh curly parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- 125g mayonnaise
- Juice of ½ lemon, plus wedges to serve
- To make the tartare sauce, put the preserved lemon, gherkins, capers and parsley in a bowl. Add the mayonnaise and lemon juice, season with plenty of black pepper and mix together. Chill until ready to serve.
- Wash the potatoes well to rinse off excess starch and stop them sticking during cooking. Dry thoroughly on kitchen paper. Add a depth of 5cm oil to a deep saucepan and heat. Test the temperature with a cube of bread – it should take 1 minute to brown. The oil should not be too hot at this stage or the chips won’t cook through. Cook the chips for 5 minutes until pale golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Raise the heat slightly.
- Dust the squid with a little plain flour, shaking off any excess. Sift the flour, ½ teaspoon of salt, the cayenne and paprika into a large bowl. Test the oil temperature – it should brown a cube of bread in 30 seconds. Whisk the fizzy water into the flour and dip the squid, piece by piece into the batter. Fry in batches for just 1 minute or so, until crisp and deep golden, then drain on kitchen paper.
- When all the squid is cooked, skim any bits of batter off the surface. Check the oil is still hot, then return the chips to the pan for another 2 minutes until deep golden. Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve the squid and chunky chips with tartare sauce and lemon wedges for squeezing over.
- The best fish batter is one made with plain flour, salt, spice and water (adding egg makes a softer batter). I like to use sparkling water because the bubbles give that extra crispiness – so use the batter as soon as it is ready or the bubbles will be wasted.
- Try a dry, cold fino or manzanilla sherry for a mouthwatering match.