Our local fish hero - Marcello - is the only fish monger in central Todi - and only open tuesdays and fridays - he gets his stuff from Rome - and he is always selling the freshest of the freshest.....today we were lucky to get some amazing squid. A very versatile sea food, that we always enjoy to cook...so many different options - you can grill them, fry them, stuff them, braised them or stew them.....very often we tend to either grill or deep fry them......quick and easy.
When buying squid, always get the fresh ones, fresh and sweet smelling, skin intact and always pick the ones - that are no larger than a hand - these tend to be more tender, delicate and easier to cook.
So today's lunch was a big salad with leaves and flowers from the garden and chili fried squid - simply served with crusty and homemade mayo, made from strong tuscan olive oil.
salad for 6 persons
1 kg squid
sparkling mineral water
500 g Tipo 00 flour
1 tsp dried chili
3 egg whites
sunflower oil for frying
mixed salad leaves + flowers
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper
Start by cleaning the squid. Pull of the head, remove the skin, wings and the sword - this plastic looking thing, which is inside the squid - and take out the intestines. Rinse under cold water and set aside. Cut of the "arms" just under the eyes and make sure, that you have removed the mouth. Rinse under cold water and set aside. Cut the cleaned squid into rings and keep the arms whole. Place everything in a bowl and cover with sparkling mineral water - this will help tenderize the squid. Let them "marinate" for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile place the flour in a tray and season with chili and pepper - don't add salt at this moment, because as salt tends to draw out moisture, the fried squid will go soggy quicker - always salt generously - BUT after frying.
In another bowl add the egg white and 250 ml of mineral water and whisk together until frothy.
Heat your sunflower oil until about 180 degrees - you can check the temperature, by dropping a piece of bread into the oil - it should sizzle right away - but not brown too quickly.
Drain the squid. Once your oil is hot, take a big handful of squid,put it into the egg whites, then lift them out and transfer them to the seasoned flour. Coat the squid in the flour to create a kind of batter, shake of excess flour and place in the hot oil. Fry for a few minutes until crispy and slightly golden. Lift out of the oil and place on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. Season with flaky sea salt. You can keep them warm by placing them in a 100 degrees oven, while frying the rest.
Arrange the salad leaves and flowers on individual plates or a big sharing plate, dress with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Once all the squid is golden and delicious divide them among the salads and serve with extra lemon for your guests to squeeze over the crispy squid.