Fennel Dusted Baby Squid & Aioli

Fennel dusted baby squid and aioli. @intothesauce, Into the Sauce, Tori Falzon, #intothesauce
For all your summer entertaining needs, I bring you Fennel Dusted Squid. Salty with a hit of fennel you didn’t know your squid needed, I love this Italian take on S&P squid and think it’s one of the most popular snacks I make for parties (are we surprised, everyone loves squid). If you can’t find frozen baby squid, you can use regular squid, scored in the same way, or squid tubes, or even prawns (yum!)


For the aioli:

  • ½ clove garlic, finely grated or chopped
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp salt flakes
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 300ml vegetable oil
  • 50ml olive oil

For the squid:

  • 1kg baby squid (usually sold frozen. Regular squid or squid tubes also work)
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges, to serve

For the fennel seasoning:

  • 1½  tsp fennel seeds, toasted and ground in a mortar and pestle
  • 1 tbsp salt flakes


For the aioli:

  1. Combine garlic, lemon, salt flakes, and egg in a bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Combine vegetable oil and olive oil.
  3. Slowly drizzle in oil, whilst whisking mixture continuously to create an emulsion.
  4. Season to taste with salt and extra lemon juice. If the aioli is too thick, whisk in a dash of water or lemon juice to thin.

For the fennel seasoning:

  1. Toast your fennel seeds over medium heat in a fry pan until aromatic (around 3 minutes).
  2. Grind until fine, using a mortar and pestle.
  3. Lightly grind in sea salt flakes to combine, then set aside.

For the baby squid:

  1. Run a knife through squid to open.
  2. Score squid with a criss cross pattern*, then slice into 3-4 small pieces.
  3. Trim tentacles at the top.
  4. Fill a large pot halfway full of vegetable oil and heat over a high heat to 180°c.
  5. Immediately before frying, dust squid in flour until the squid is well coated and feels dry.
  6. Shake off the excess flour, then use tongs to add the squid pieces to the hot oil. Fry in 2-3 batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  7. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until light golden, then use a slotted spoon to remove the squid into a bowl lined with a paper towel
  8. Toss in fennel salt to season.
  9. Serve with aioli and fresh lemon juice.

Note* this recipe can also be done using any squid - if you don’t want to prepare the squid yourself, you can purchase squid tubes which have already been scored from most seafood stores.

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