I'm trying to make a baby squid fregola better. It's working well apart from one thing: I'd like the baby squid to have more of a maillard reaction and perhaps be a bit crispy. What I currently do is:
- Wash the fresh baby squid (the squid are really small, perhaps 5 or 6cm tall - much smaller than in this question)
- Attempt to dry it in paper towel (harder than you would think)
- Cut it into three (take off the tails, then divide the resultant "cup" into two so it doesn't retain water
- Attempt to dry it again
- Fry it in peanut oil in a cast iron pan - peanut oil a couple of millimetres deep - at a high heat
What happens is that water comes off the "dry" (not really) squid, and it bubbles so the squid is actually sort of boiling, sort of steaming, sort of frying. By the time the squid is done, there is still a watery residue. If I leave it on for longer, the watery residue seems to turn into a sticky mess (a bit like albumen) on the bottom of the pan, which then burns - also I'd be in danger of overcooking the squid.
It tastes great, but not quite as great as if it were "properly" fried. I could blowtorch it I guess. Any ideas?