crispy calamari with homemade aioli

It was about time I ticked off another item from my ‘too difficult and irrationally scary’ list –


I have a vague memory of attempting this years ago but after ending up with a thin, split, oily mess, I threw the whole lot in the bin and have relied on Zoosh or Simon Johnson for all my mayonnaise needs since.

However, I now realise my grave error on that initial occasion was attempting to make mayonnaise in a blender.

The logic clearly stemmed from the fact that I had no inclination to give my old-fashioned egg beaters a thorough workout (not to mention my poor arms)! But the blender was an unfortunate alternative and entirely the wrong tool for the job.

Instead of lightly whipping the eggs and oil into a smooth, buttery consistency, the blades prevented the mixture from emulsifying and chopped the whole thing into an awful mess. Blergh.

Happily, my latest endeavour yielded far more successful results. I carefully brought together the mayonnaise in the bowl of my Kitchenaid mixer using the whipping attachment and it turned out wonderfully, with a satiny, delightfully creamy consistency.

A small addition of garlic and voila! – aioli – the perfect accompaniment for a batch of hot, crunchy deep-fried calamari.

crispy calamari with homemade aioli

based on jamie oliver’s recipe in the april 2014 issue of delicious. magazine

400g squid, cleaned and tentacles reserved ¼ cup plain flour 2 tsp smoked paprika sunflower oil, to deep-fry sea salt

aioli 2 egg yolks 1 tsp dijon mustard 1 clove garlic, very finely minced 1 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 – 2 tsp white wine vinegar 1 cup light olive oil juice of half a lemon, plus wedges to serve

To make the aioli, whisk the egg yolks until creamy (either with a hand beater or in the bowl of an electric mixer).

Stir in the mustard and gradually pour in the extra virgin olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes until thickened.

Stir in a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and gradually pour in the light olive oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly until you have a thick mayonnaise.

Stir through the garlic, season with sea salt and lemon juice to taste, adding more vinegar if needed.

Store the aioli in a sterilised jar in the fridge for up to a week.

To prepare the squid, slice the hoods lengthways to open them up. Score the insides with a criss-cross pattern and cut into triangles.

Mix together the flour, paprika and sea salt in a deep bowl and toss through the squid pieces, including the tentacles.

Fill a large saucepan or wok one-third full with sunflower oil and heat it until a pinch of flour sizzles when it hits the oil.

Shake off any excess flour from the squid pieces and fry in batches for about a minute until golden. Drain on paper towels.

Sprinkle the calamari with sea salt and serve with the aioli and lemon wedges.

angelica talen

photographer & stylist

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