Deep-frying at home ranks up there with de-boning poultry and sous-viding anything: Better left to the professionals.
The exception is squid. The cephalopod cooks so quickly, frying is over almost as soon as it starts, cutting down on the amount of time the oil has to spatter everywhere and stink up your house. If you’re going to deep-fry anything at home, squid is a top contender.
The most important things to have on hand are a thermometer to measure the oil temp (a candy thermometer works) and an organized mise en place – you want to have everything else lined up and ready to go before you lower the squid into the oil. About 3 minutes later, you’ll wonder why you haven’t done this before.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound squid tubes and tentacles
¼ cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt (preferably whole milk)
½ cup cherry peppers, thinly sliced
1 quart canola oil
Place flour in a large bowl and add the salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. Lay the squid out on a paper towel lined sheet pan, pat dry, and set aside. Stir sriracha and mayo together in a ramekin. Set aside. If you haven’t sliced the peppers yet, cut them up and set them aside too.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven to 350 degrees. When it’s ready, it should be almost smoking.
While the oil heats, transfer squid to cutting board and cut tubes into ½-inch slices. Leave tentacles intact. Pat dry again, then add squid to flour mix and toss to coat. Wipe the sheet pan dry and line it with a double layer of paper towels. Set it next to the stove.
Take the temperature of the oil. Slip one squid tube into the oil to test. Once that piece is pale golden brown, remove it and add the squid in three batches, stirring gently with a slotted spoon to make sure all squid is submerged in oil.
When the squid turns golden, remove with a slotted spoon and place on the lined sheet pan to drain. When all squid are cooked, transfer to large bowl and toss liberally with salt. Add cherry peppers and a squeeze of lemon juice. Toss to combine. Transfer to serving platter with sriracha mayo ramekin, another lemon wedge, and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. Serve.