My Valentine’s Day present to myself this year were these little, perfectly fried, golden brown beauties. These were stupid good, ya girl really shocked herself with this one. They were so tender, no chewy squid over here. They were light and super crisp. I can never decide if I want to submerge these babies in marinara or some creamy mayo based sauce, so I decided to sort of combine to two and make an out of this world sun dried tomato aioli. So. Good. Then, what really set everything, off was the lemon salt liberally sprinkled on top. UGH. I done did good kid, I done did good.
Photography by Sophie Marie Creative
- 1/2 pound baby squid (if not already broken down and cleaned; learn to do it here)
- 1 Serrano pepper; thinly sliced (optional)
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup corn meal
- 1/4 cup semolina flour (can substitute this with an extra 1/4 cup of corn meal)
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- Oil for frying
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 egg yolks; room temperature
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 canola oil; cold
- 1/4 cup olive oil; cold
- 2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes; minced
- Slice the body pieces of the squid into rings about a half inch thick. Add them to a bowl with the tentacles and Serrano pepper if using. Pour in the buttermilk and sprinkle with salt. Be sure everything is coated in the buttermilk and let it marinate for at least 20 minutes.
- In a blender, add in the garlic, egg yolks, lemon juice, and mustard. Blend until everything is incorporated. Over the lowest speed, very slowly drizzle in the oil. It is done when the sauce thickens up. Remove from the blender and stir in the sun dried tomatoes. Chill until served.
- Mix the lemon zest with about a heaping teaspoon of course salt.
- Fill a pot halfway up with oil and heat to 350 degrees.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, semolina flour, paprika, and about a teaspoon of salt and pepper (season according to your taste). Drain the squid and peppers from the buttermilk, shake off any excess liquid, then add to the flours. Toss and coat all of the squid and sliced pepper. Shake off any excess flour then drop into the oil, working in batches so you do not overcrowd the pot. The squid should be cooked and golden brown in about 2-3 minutes. Drain off any excess oil then lay them on a paper towel lined plate. Immediately sprinkle with the lemon zest salt. Repeat until all of the squid is cooked. Serve immediately with the sun dried tomato aioli (they are really good dipped in ranch too).