Thursday, February 14, 2013

Succulent squid

When I was out on my mission for beef bones the other day, I also popped into a fish shop and got myself some squid rings (p119). I'd been looking for these at the supermarket, but they seem to only be available frozen and crumbed - hardly useful if you're intent on making a recipe that involves crumbing them yourself. I did have to buy them frozen, but at least I found some uncrumbed ones.

I was going to need a dipping sauce for my squid rings, and as chance (or careful planning) would have it, the only remaining sauce recipe was spicy barbecue sauce (p187). That's right: I've got through all 33 of those 'sauces and marinades' that have been making my life difficult these past three years!

When I got home from work yesterday, I immediately began mixing up the sauce. I'd intended to have my squid rings and dipping sauce last night, and I knew the sauce had to sit for a while. On re-reading the recipe, I found the standing time was 5-6 hours, far too long to wait before eating. In the end, my sauce ended up standing for nearly 24 hours.

The sauce is easy to make: you just mix the ingredients together and let it stand. Of course, by the time you've put in tomato sauce, water, golden syrup, salt, Worcestershire sauce, curry powder, pepper, garlic and red wine, you've got two whole cups of sauce. That was far too much for my needs, so I made a half recipe.

I ran into a few difficulties with the ingredients, finding that I'd bought 'homestyle' tomato sauce instead of the normal stuff, and that my golden syrup bottle was almost empty. I went ahead with it anyway, and added a little brown sugar as a substitute for the rest of the golden syrup.

This evening, I actually got down to  cooking the squid rings. I defrosted some of the squid rings and stirred crushed garlic through. I used garlic from a jar, since it has a more runny consistency than fresh-crushed garlic, and I thought it would coat the squid rings better. When the squid was satisfactorily coated, I covered the bowl and left it for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I was heating oil and preparing the other ingredients. I beat together egg, cornflour and milk, and got out some breadcrumbs. When the oil was hot enough, I dipped each squid ring in the egg mixture, then coated it in the breadcrumbs. I fried the squid rings a handful at a time, quite briefly. It's hard to judge cooking time when you're not sure exactly how hot the oil is, so I just let them brown then took them out to drain.

It wasn't long before I had a tasty-looking plate of golden squid with a rich red dipping sauce. The squid definitely lived up to its delicious appearance - crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. I was pleased that I'd got the timing right and not overcooked it.

Unfortunately, the sauce wasn't as good as expected. I don't think I really got the flavours right. It tasted like what it was: tomato sauce with a few extras stirred through it. It wasn't bad, but it didn't have the lovely barbecue flavour I was hoping for, and certainly doesn't deserve the description 'spicy'.

In short, the squid is awesome, if you're prepared to bother with deep-frying, (there are oil spatters all over my kitchen, but not everyone is as messy as I am) but I would recommend using a different dipping sauce.

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