This dish takes us back to the seaside town of Santa Margherita in Liguria. We often drove down from the mountain to spend a few days at the beach and this was always Dad’s first choice on the menu. However, we’re lucky enough to be able to enjoy it in Wales, too!
On a Saturday night, you’ll often find us piled into one of Dad’s delivery vans on the way to Porthcawl to visit our Italian–Welsh friends, the Sidolis.
They own a number of fish-and-chip bars and they’ll sometimes have a lock-in just for us. They’ll cook us fresh calamari with chips – and we usually take a few bottles of Peroni or prosecco!
150g Tipo ‘00’ flour, plus extra to dust
150ml cold sparkling water
200g raw prawns, heads removed, tails left on (if frozen, make sure they’re fully defrosted)
200g baby squid, prepared, cleaned and sliced into 1cm rings
fine salt and freshly ground
vegetable oil, for deepfat frying
wedges of lemon, to serve
Mix the flour, beer and water in a bowl until it forms a batter, then chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, wash all the seafood with cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper. Season with salt and pepper, and dust all over with flour.
Pour the oil into a large pan to a depth of about 8cm. Heat the oil until a small piece of batter dropped in bubbles and quickly turns golden brown. One at a time, dip the pieces of seafood in the batter and lower straight into the hot oil. Fry about 10 pieces at a time, for three minutes on each side, until crispy – take care not to burn them.
Do not overcrowd the pan, as the seafood won’t cook properly. Repeat with the rest. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pieces from the oil and drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately with wedges of lemon and sprinkled with salt.