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Oz
03-30-2008, 06:10 PM
1 lb. fresh or thawed frozen calamari, cut into
1/2-inch rings, tentacles left intact
1 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the romesco sauce:
1 oz. French bread chunks (about 2 slices), crusts removed
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
1/3 cup toasted almonds
1/4 cup drained diced tomatoes
1 roasted red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 garlic clove
1 tsp. paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Vegetable or canola oil for deep-frying
1 cup rice flour or all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarse yellow cornmeal or polenta
1 Tbs. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, or to taste
Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (optional)

In a bowl, combine the calamari, milk, and a pinch each of salt and black
pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours.

Meanwhile, make the romesco sauce: In a bowl, combine the bread and
vinegar. In a food processor, pulse the almonds until grainy. Add the
bread-vinegar mixture, the tomatoes, bell pepper, garlic, paprika and
cayenne and puree until smooth. With the motor running, add the olive
oil in a steady stream and puree until smooth. Season with salt and black
pepper. Transfer the sauce to a bowl, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Place an ovenproof platter in an oven and preheat to 150F. In a heavy,
deep fry pan or wide saucepan, pour in vegetable oil to a depth of 2 inches
and heat to 375F on a deep-frying thermometer.

Drain the calamari. In a large bowl, combine the rice flour, cornmeal,
paprika, cayenne, 1 tsp. salt and 1⁄4 tsp. black pepper. Add half of the
calamari and toss to coat evenly, then transfer the coated calamari to
a colander and shake gently to remove excess flour.

Add the coated calamari to the hot oil and deep-fry, using a wire skimmer
or slotted spoon to push it gently into the oil occasionally, until crisp and
golden brown, about 1 minute. Using the skimmer or spoon, transfer to
paper towels to drain briefly, then place on the platter in the oven. Coat
the remaining calamari and fry in the same way.

Garnish the calamari with the parsley and place a small bowl or ramekin
holding the romesco in the center of the platter.