Vietnamese class with Mark Jensen of Red Lantern. That was truly delicious, so another friend and I booked in for a classic.
The class was full, and our presenter, Julie Ray, funny and energetic. Apart from showing us how to prepare three recipes; Chilli Salt Squid (a.k.a salt & pepper squid), Salt and Pepper Prawns and a rice noodle salad, she gave us a run down on the handling and storage of some of the items of seafood we’d be using.
- Freezer temp should be -18
- Fridge temp should be between 0 and -4
- Prawns should be stored in a bowl or colander on a plate, lightly covered
- Fry up your prawn heads and shells for stock, and add to prepackaged fish stock to liven up the flavour
- Don’t marinate squid in citrus longer than 30 minutes, or it cooks
- To test if your oil is hot enough, dip the end of a wooden spoon into the oil and if it bubbles, it’s ready to go
- Always give the oil time to reheat in between batches
Both recipes use Szechuan peppercorns and good salt as the flavour base (we used pink Murray salt). The principle of both recipes is the same. Dip either prawns or squid in egg white, and then in tapioca starch or corn flour and deep fry. We both came home smelling like the old fashioned fish’n’chip shop.
The highlight for me, however, was preparing the squid from scratch. I’ve always been intimidated by the preparation of fresh seafood. I usually get my fish already filleted, or a whole fish already scaled, and gutted. Squid? Never attempted before. Now there are no photos of this bit as you can imagine, as we were elbow deep in squid goo!