Salt & pepper cuttlefish

Salt & pepper cuttlefish

Seiche poivre et sel

By
From
Luke Nguyen's France
Serves
4
Photographer
Alan Benson

Salt and pepper cuttlefish is a crowd favourite and popular at parties. It’s quite easy to do — you’ll just need to allow a few minutes to cook it fresh as your guests arrive. If cuttlefish is hard to get hold of, this recipe works just as well with squid.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200g cuttlefish or squid tubes, cleaned
1 litre vegetable oil, for deep-frying
1 egg white
150g potato starch, (see glossary), for coating
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
2 bird’s eye chillies, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 teaspoon salt & pepper seasoning mix, (see recipe, below)
60g Aïoli

Salt & pepper seasoning mix

Quantity Ingredient
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon chinese five-spice

Method

  1. Place the salt and pepper seasoning mix ingredients in a bowl and mix together well. This recipe makes about 2 tablespoons, which is more than you’ll need; the remainder will keep indefinitely in an airtight container in a cool dark place.
  2. Lay the cuttlefish on a cutting board. Insert a knife into the top edge of the body and run it down to the base of the cuttlefish. Fold the tube open, as you would a book. Working from the top right to the bottom left, make diagonal slices in the flesh, making sure not to penetrate all the way through. Now work from the top left to the bottom right, to make a crisscross pattern. Cut the cuttlefish in half from top to base, turn it horizontally, then slice through to make strips about 5 mm wide. Place in a bowl.
  3. In a wok over high heat, heat the oil to 180˚C, or until a cube of bread dropped in the oil browns in 15 seconds.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg white until it foams up slightly, then pour half over the cuttlefish and work it through the cuttlefish with your fingers. Start adding the potato starch, a little at a time, until the cuttlefish is well covered and feels quite dry.
  5. Shake off any excess flour, then add the cuttlefish to the hot oil, a few bits at a time, but in quick succession to maintain the heat of the oil. Use a metal strainer to catch and discard the starch that floats free of the cuttlefish. Cook for 3–5 minutes, or until the cuttlefish batter feels quite firm when tapped with a wooden spoon. Carefully transfer the cuttlefish to a colander to drain.
  6. Drain all but 2 teaspoons of oil from the wok, then return to the heat. Add the spring onion, chilli and garlic and toss to combine. Return the cuttlefish to the wok, and continue to toss while sprinkling with the seasoning mix. Serve hot, with the aïoli.
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