Crispy fried salt-&-pepper cuttlefish

Crispy fried salt-&-pepper cuttlefish

Cuttlefish really is one of the most versatile and delicious of all seafoods. It's wonderful braised, when it becomes soft and giving, or cut thinly and fried until crisp (it is far better than fried calamari). We call it 'Brixham calamari' as a way to describe how it tastes and where it comes from - we have tons of cuttlefish landed here in the port. This is a nice, quick and easy recipe to make at home.

Serves 4 as a starter


400g cleaned cuttlefish

2 good handfuls of rice flour

vegetable oil for deep-frying

2½ tablespoons salt and pepper mix (equal amounts of pink, white, black and Sichuan peppercorns in a pestle with the same quantity of sea salt flakes and give them all a good bash about until they are coursely ground. Store in an airtight container.

1 fresh red chilli, thinly sliced

2 spring onions, thinly sliced on the bias

1 lime, cut into wedges


Cut the cuttlefish into thin strips about the width of a pencil. Cut the tentacles into chunks. Put it all into a container of water. Place the rice flour in another container next to it.

Heat the oil in a deep pan to 170°C. (If you don’t have a thermometer or deep-fat fryer, heat the oil in a deep pan – it is hot enough to fry the squid when a small piece of bread dropped in quickly fizzles and crisps.) In small batches take the cuttlefish from the water and dip into the flour, giving it a good massage to get a sticky but light coating on the strips of cuttlefish, then slip into the hot oil. Fry for about 2 minutes or until firm, pale and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

When all the cuttlefish has been fried, put it into a bowl and liberally sprinkle over the salt and pepper mix. Give it a good shake about. Serve sprinkled with the sliced chilli and spring onions, and with lime wedges.