I'm scared of deep-frying. I know I'm not alone; there are probably therapy sessions to teach nervy souls like me how to cope with a deep fat-fryer, but I'm not about to enrol on one. This fear dates back to my childhood when I used to rush out of the kitchen whenever the deep fat fryer was turned on; the sizzling fat did more to put me off cooking than school dinners, even. I've always been a scaredy-cat sort of person. Simon does the deep fat frying in our house, although to be honest we don't eat deep-fried food much (which has to be a good thing). Yesterday we bought some squid and decided to make Jamie's crunchy squid, which is effectively a euphemism for deep-fried squid, but sounds less off-putting to the health police. It goes with lime and chilli mayonnaise, which is enough reason to make it - who could resist lime and chilli mayo? As I wrote that last, apparently rhetorical, question, I realized that my friend Litlove will be recoiling in horror as she reads this. Litlove is even more squeamish than me. Quite a lot more sqeamish than me, in fact. In the days when a friend of mine tested my stomach to its absolute limit with some seriously dodgy food, Litlove would listen to my stories and I could almost see her stomach churn in empathetic repulsion. Anyway, going back to last night's dinner, crunchy squid and lime and chilli mayo sounded perfect to me.
First, make the mayo: mix 4 heaped tablespoons of mayonnaise with chopped red chilli, lemon and lime zest and juice so that it is zingily citrussy.
Then toss the squid in seasoned flour and deep-fry at 180 C until crispy and golden. Drain on kitchen towel, season, and slice at an angle. Serve with the mayo.
The photo definitely doesn't do the dinner justice; squid isn't very photogenic and the mayo, thinned down with lemon and lime juice, was runny. Never mind - it was as yummy as deep fried food inevitably is; and the mayonnaise was delicious and will definitely be repeated. I served this as suggested with a root veg salad, the same one I made at the weekend. The combo worked pretty well and the veggies in the salad made me feel as though I wasn't breaking every health rule in the book. Oh, and I managed to stay in the kitchen while the squid sizzled dangerously. I must be overcoming some of my fears.