Cocoa Nib and Corn Meal Crusted Fried Squid with a White Chocolate Sherry Vinegar Condiment and Pickled Radishes and Pea Greens Salad

Total Time:
Inactive Prep:
4 to 6 servings


  • White Chocolate Sherry Condiment
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped white chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups aged sherry wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallots
  • Pinch Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 vanilla bean pod, seeds scraped
  • 3/4 cups blended oil, recipe follows
    • Fried Squid
    • 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour, for dredging
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 cup semolina
    • 1 cup coarse ground corn meal
    • 2 cups ground cocoa nibs*
    • 1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
    • 2 pounds fresh squid tubes, cut into 1/8-inch rings
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 1/2 lemon
    • *Can be found at specialty stores
    • Pea greens or fresh local seasonal greens, for service
    • Vinaigrette, for service
    • Pickled Radishes, recipe follows
    • White Chocolate Sherry Vinegar Condiment, recipe follows
      • Blended oil
      • 1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
      • 6 tablespoons olive oil
        • Pickled Radishes
        • 1/2 cup water
        • 1/2 cup sugar
        • 1/2 cup white wine
        • 1 fresh bay leaf
        • 1/8 teaspoon mustard seed
        • 1/8 teaspoon coriander seed
        • 1/8 teaspoon chile flakes
        • 1/8 teaspoon fennel seed
        • 1/2 pound radishes, sliced
          • Directions

            Combine the water, sugar, white wine, bay leaf, mustard seed, coriander seed, chile flakes, and fennel seed in a 2-quart saucepan, and bring the mixture to a boil. Allow the mixture to reduce by half, and then while still boiling, strain the mixture over the sliced radishes into a medium-sized bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator overnight to pickle.

            In a small bowl, combine the vegetable oil and the olive oil.

            In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour the vegetable oil in and heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 350 degrees F. Do not leave the oil unattended.

            First, set up a frying station. You will need three mixing bowls, and one large plate. In one mixing bowl, add the flour. In the second mixing bowl, add the eggs and scramble. In the third bowl, combine the semolina, corn meal, cocoa nibs, and ground fennel seed, and mix to combine.

            Taking a few squid rings at a time, dredge them first in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally, coat in the cocoa nib mixture. Then, put the coated squid on a plate. Continue this process until all the squid have been coated.

            Once the oil has reached 350 degrees F, in several small batches, carefully place the coated squid into the fryer. Fry the squid for 2 to 3 minutes, and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil. Lightly season the fried squid with salt, and freshly ground black pepper, and give a very light squeeze of lemon. Continue until all the squid is fried. Once all the squid is fried assemble the salad.

            For service: Use your favorite local green that is in season. Cook's Note: Here we are using pea tendrils.

            Dress with a simple basic vinaigrette of your choice, mix in some of the pickled radishes, and assemble next to the fried squid. Put the White Chocolate Condiment in a dish for dipping.

            Put the chopped white chocolate into a medium bowl set over a saucepan filled halfway with simmering water, not touching the bottom of the bowl, or in the top portion of a double boiler over medium heat. Stir the chocolate occasionally.

            In a bain-marie (French for 'water bath', it is a piece of equipment used to gently bring ingredients to a certain temperature) or metal bowl, add the sherry wine vinegar, and shallots. Allow the sherry mixture to marinate for about 10 minutes, and then add the mustard and vanilla bean seeds. Check the chocolate; it should be melted and free of any lumps.

            Using a hand held mixer, immersion blender or whisk, slowly add the melted white chocolate to the sherry mixture, and blend to incorporate. In a slow steady, thin stream, add in the blended oil. The sauce should thicken to the consistency of heavy cream. Place the bain marie or bowl, onto the double boiler to keep the mixture warm until ready to serve. The water should not be hotter than 100 degrees F or body temperature.