Crispy fried squid with lemon verbena dip

This recipe comes from Citrus and Spice. If you can’t get hold of lemon verbena, use the same quantity of lemon balm or 2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon thyme.   Ask the fishmonger to clean the squid for you. You need about 500g cleaned weight.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

˝ teaspoon dried chilli flakes

2 ˝ tablespoons white wine vinegar

4 tablespoons finely chopped lemon verbena leaves

800g uncleaned weight, fresh squid

Corn oil for deep-frying

50g plain flour

salt and freshly ground black pepper


To make the dip measure 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and ˝ teaspoon dried chilli flakes in a small bowl.   Add 5 tablespoons boiling water and stir until the sugar has dissolved.   Stir in the vinegar, followed by the finely chopped the lemon verbena leaves.   Set aside.


Rinse the cleaned squid bodies inside and out under the cold tap, making sure that any sand or gloopy bits is washed away.   If necessary, peel away any fine purple coloured skin from the outside of the body. Slice into thick rounds


Trim the tentacles so that they are just held together by a ring of flesh.   Rinse and if you don’t like the suckers, scrape them off with the blunt side of a knife.   Dry both the squid rings and tentacles on kitchen paper towelling.   If they’re not sufficiently dry, too much flour will adhere to them and they’re more liable to spit in the hot oil. Cover and chill until needed.


Half fill a deep-fat fryer or deep pan with oil.   If using a deep saucepan, clip on a thermometer on to the side of the pan.   Heat to 180˚C.    Put the flour in a large mixing bowl and season with the salt and freshly ground black pepper.   Mix in one third of the squid, then shake off the excess flour before adding to the hot oil.   Fry for about 3 minutes or until golden, remove and drain thoroughly on kitchen paper.   Place in a bowl.   Repeat the process with the remaining squid.   Season to taste with salt and serve a pile of golden squid on each plate with a little bowl of sauce.



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