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Friday, January 4, 2013

Squid Row Top Hit

Menu Note:
This recipe was adapted from one in the booklet that was bundled with our Cuisinart compact deep fryer. We enjoy the squid rings dipped in Marzetti ranch dressing and accompanied by a fragrant ale.

Ranch dressing: soybean oil,
buttermilk, vinegar, egg
yolk, salt, sugar, garlic,
spices, xanthan gum.

The Ingredients (for two people):
  • 230 g (or ½ lb) of small squid, or squid rings
  • 235 ml (or 1 cup) of milk or buttermilk
  • 1 egg white
  • 125 g (or 1 cup) of chick pea flour (besan)
  • 15 g (or 1 tablespoon) of salt
  • 6 g (or 1 tablespoon) of freshly ground white pepper
  • 6 g (or 1 tablespoon) of cayenne pepper
  • 12 g (or 2 tablespoons) of paprika
  • Cooking grade olive oil

The Method:
  1. Clean the squid and cut them crosswise into 1-cm (or ⅜-inch) rings.
  2. Beat the egg white into the milk or buttermilk, then stir the squid rings into the mixture and allow them to stand, occasionally stirring, while preparing the crumb mixture and heating the frying oil.
  3. Heat an appropriate amount of the olive oil to 185°C (or 365°F) in an electric deep fryer, or over moderate heat in a deep pot or a large wok.
  4. Combine the chick pea flour, salt, white and cayenne peppers, and paprika, and mix well to distribute the seasoning evenly.
  5. Drain the squid rings of excess egg mixture and coat them with the spiced chick pea flour. This can be done by lightly tossing them with the flour in a large bowl or by shaking them with the flour for 20 seconds in a medium-size paper bag.
  6. When the oil temperature has reached 185°C (or 365°F)  gently add sufficient floured squid rings to the oil to make one layer.
  7. Fry them for approximately 4 minutes, until the coating turns a medium brown color and feels crispy when picked up with tongs.
  8. If it is necessary to fry the the squid rings in batches, make sure to check the oil temperature between batches and reheat it to 185°C (or 365°F) if necessary.
    The Story:
    I cannot tell you how many times I have heated oil in an open wok until it spontaneously ignited, because I stopped counting after the second panicked occasion. Luckily the wok lid was nearby, I smothered the flames, then raced the wok out the door so the toxic-smelling smoke would not fill the whole house.
    When I recently saw this compact deep fryer in an online catalog, I realized here was our answer to the occasional yen for fried calamari, chicken wings, falafel, the list goes on. The deep fryer uses an economical amount of oil. The frying basket can hold one generous portion or two small portions of fried food, which is just enough to satisfy our appetites. By using chick pea flour instead of white wheat flour, and pure olive oil, I can make even deep-fried foods as diabetic-friendly as possible.

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