To learn more about this recipe, see our related story, TT Plated: Squid, in our National edition.
Salt-and-Pepper Squid with Pineapple and Toasted Garlic
Recipe adapted from Heaven's Dog, San Francisco
Yield: 3 to 4 servings as an appetizer-size portion or part of a multicourse meal
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1½ pounds fresh squid, bodies and tentacles
1 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1½ cups sliced pineapple, cored and cut into ¼-thick slices
1 tablespoon toasted garlic
3 jalapeño chiles--stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced
Pinch of granulated sugar
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1. In a small skillet set over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add the garlic and cook until the garlic is golden, about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain the garlic on paper towels. Set aside.
2. Use a sharp knife to slit one side of each squid body so that it lies flat, then slice each body lengthwise into 2 or 3 pieces. Combine the slices with the tentacles and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. In a large, high-sided saucepan set over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When the oil is hot, add the sliced pineapple and cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Cut the pineapple slices into bite-size pieces and set aside to drain on paper towels.
5. Add enough oil to the pan so it reaches two inches up the side; set over high heat and heat until the oil reaches 375° on a deep-fry thermometer. While the oil heats, prepare the squid: Working in three batches, dredge the bodies and tentacles in the cornstarch mixture, then place the dredged pieces in a fine-mesh sieve and shake off the excess.
6. When the oil is hot, add a third of the squid and fry until golden brown and curled, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Remove the squid from the oil with a spider or slotted spoon and transfer to a paper-towel-lined bowl. Return the oil to 375° and fry the second and third batches of squid in the same way. Ten seconds before the third batch of squid is done, add the jalapeño chilies to the hot oil, then remove the chilies from the oil along with the squid.
7. In a large bowl, combine the fried squid with the jalapeños, pineapple, toasted garlic, sugar and cilantro and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.