Salt & pepper squid done the Dalmatian way. And it's freakin' delicious.

So here we have it. A recipe I knocked-up after trying its counterpart at a Croatian club in western Sydney. This dish was brought to my attention when I was contacted by a reader; asking me if I had a recipe for the salt & pepper squid/calamari that can be found at restaurants along Croatia's Dalmatian coastline. He'd eaten a very nice version of it at Sydney's Luce Mala Restaurant, a version that seemed to parallel the one back in Croatia. The only way I could replicate the dish was to get out to Luce Mala and try it for myself. And I did. The dish is simply prepared and it's delicious. With a handful of ingredients, this is what I've come up with. This one's for you, Jason, and don't forget the Croatian beer.

lignje sa soli i paparom

serves 2

  • 500 g baby squid, cleaned
  • 1 litre vegetable oil, for frying
  • ½ cup plain flour
  • t tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly milled black pepper
  • lemon or lime wedges
  • mayonnaise, easy recipe here

To clean the squid, gently pull the head from the main body. Use gloves as it can get a little messy. Remove the backbone and guts and rinse well under running water. Lay the squid tube on its side on a chopping board and cut through the bottom half at 5 mm intervals. Set aside. Take the tentacles and cut them off just below the eye. Squeeze out the beak and discard it along with the eyes and guts. Rinse well and set aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat as you prepare the seasoning. Combine the salt and pepper and set aside. Place the flour into a large mixing bowl and set aside. Use paper towels to dry the squid really well, then toss the pieces in the flour in small batches. Shake off the excess and drop into the hot oil, allowing to cook for 15-20 seconds or until golden. Drain on paper towels as you cook the rest. Toss the cooked squid in the salt and pepper while still hot. Serve immediately with lemon or lime wedges, mayonnaise for dipping and cold beer.