Paprika-battered squid, chunky chips and tartare sauce
- August 2004
- 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.
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