Salt and pepper squid

This is a hugely popular bar snack at Bread Street Kitchen and is brilliant for sharing with friends over a cold drink. The ground Szechuan peppercorns in the coating give the crispy squid its distinct flavour and mouth-numbing tingle, but leave them out if you aren’t a fan, or use black peppercorns instead.

Serves 4-6

Serves 4-6


  • 2½ tsp Szechuan peppercorns
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g cornflour
  • 50g semolina
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 12 small squid (about 550g), cleaned, patted dry and sliced into rings
  • 120ml whole milk

To serve

  • 1 plump red chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
  • Large handful of fresh coriander leaves
  • Lime wedges

Cooking instructions

  • Toast the peppercorns in a dry frying pan over a medium–high heat for a few minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Remove from the heat and blitz them to a fine powder in a spice grinder or crush them using a pestle and mortar. Mix 2 teaspoons of the ground peppercorns (reserve the rest for sprinkling later) with the flour, cornflour, semolina and salt in a bowl. Set aside on a large plate.
  • Heat a deep-fat fryer to 180°C or fill a large saucepan one-third full of vegetable oil and heat until a cube of bread dropped in the oil sizzles and turns golden in 30 seconds.
  • Put the squid into a separate bowl and pour over the milk, then remove the squid rings in batches, shaking off the excess milk, and immediately dip in the flour mixture to coat all over, shaking off the excess flour, too.
  • Deep-fry the squid rings in batches in the hot oil for 2–3 minutes per batch, until golden brown all over, turning them over occasionally if necessary so they brown evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper, then keep warm in a low oven while you deep-fry the remaining squid rings in the same way, making sure you bring the oil back up to temperature between each batch.
  • Transfer the deep-fried squid rings to serving plates, scatter with the chilli slices and coriander leaves, then garnish with lime wedges.
  • Serve immediately, sprinkling a little of the reserved pepper over each serving, to taste.

Read more in Gordon's recipe books...

Recipes extracted from Bread Street Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay and the Bread Street Kitchen Team, published by Hodder & Stoughton, £26