About 20 minutes
While cooking squid I tried innumerable coatings. I have two conclusions to report: If you like cakey batter, make what amounts to a thick pancake batter. If you just want a little bit of crust (this is my preference), dredge lightly in flour; it doesn’t get any simpler or better.
Neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn, as needed
1 ½ pounds cleaned squid, sliced into rings, tentacles cut in half lengthwise if large
Ground black pepper
All-purpose flour as needed
3 or 4 jalapeños, cut into rings, optional
Lemon wedges for serving
1. Put 1 1/2 to 2 inches of oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, spread about 1/4 of the squid at a time on several layers of paper towels and put another couple of layers of towels on top, blotting squid to rid it of as much moisture as possible. Season squid with salt and pepper; put flour in a bowl.
2. When oil is hot, put about 1/4 of the squid in flour, then move it to a sieve over the bowl and shake to remove any excess. Add squid to oil along with some jalapeños if you like, adjusting heat as necessary so temperature remains nearly constant. Fry until squid is lightly browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt. Start next batch while you eat the first with lemon wedges.