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Cover: Mamma Mia!

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29Aug 12

Fried Calamari

Fried Calamari

 

Fried Calamari is a must-know for any aspiring Italian chef. I often serve mine alongside home-made chips, taking advantage of the already heated and ready-to-go deep fryer. Besides, that combination sort of gives a nod to the British classic fish and chips.

You may have noticed that most seafood platters are served with lemon wedges, which is interesting to me. The combination of the citric fruit and fish comes from the olden days when it was more difficult to keep fish fresh for a long time. As there wasn’t ice in those days, the product often developed an unpleasant odor after being stored or transported to a nearby city, the journey often taking a few days. Lemon was used to combat the smell of the less-than-fresh seafood. Others say that it was used like salt to help preserve the quality of the nutrients and avoid any bacterial problems.

But now that transportation and keeping our seafood fresh isn’t a problem, we still use lemon! My parents were against the use of lemon and claimed that it is an insult to the chef to use it. If you like the combination, you are free to eat it as you choose. However, maybe you could try it without and enjoy the flavours of the fish exactly as they should be savoured.

(Also try this sea bass with white bean mash.)

Fried Calamari
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2
 

Fried Calamari is a must-know for any aspiring Italian chef
Ingredients
  • 400g calamari, cleaned and cut up in rings
  • 130g flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 130g breadcrumbs
  • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 lemon, cut up into wedges for serving
  • 200ml marinara sauce

Instructions
  1. Take the calamari, and with a paper towel, pat out any remaining water.
  2. Place the flour in a sandwich bag, along with the calamari, and shake, thoroughly coating all of the squid with the flour.
  3. Using a sieve in a bowl, dump out the contents of the bag into the sieve, and the excess flour will fall into the bowl.
  4. Beat the two eggs in another bowl, and carefully dip the flour-covered calamari into the egg.
  5. Next, pour the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper or whatever other seasonings you like into a sandwich bag.
  6. Repeat the process from before, dumping the egg-coated squid into the Ziploc bag. Shake and sieve out the excess breadcrumbs and seasoning.
  7. Meanwhile, heat up the deep fryer to cook the calamari, approximately 3 minutes until they turn a golden brown.
  8. Invert the squid onto a plate covered with paper towel to soak up any dripping oil.
  9. Remove the paper towel and serve alongside a few lemon wedges and the marinara sauce for dipping.

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30Jul 12

Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta

Roasted Red Pepper BruschettaAmong our repertoire of appetisers, starters, and snacks, is roasted red pepper bruschetta. We’ve been known to whip some up for a light supper, or to accompany a light salad or soup, like this rich and tasty watercress soup. The red pepper is such an evocative taste of the Mediterranean for me. I remember the smell on the nights my mum flame-roasted them on a small fire, blackening them before peeling off the skin, rinsing and deseeding them, and then adding them to salads, pastas and of course bruschetta too.  For more toasty bread and salad sensations, try this warm chicken salad with garlic and tomato bread.

Mama would also store them in jars to add wonderful flavour into other recipes. If you have the option of flame-roasting your peppers, I would certainly recommend it for this roasted red pepper bruschetta. If you have a gas hob, you can roast them straight over the flame, staying close by, and turning them as you go with metal tongs. If you don’t have that option, then conventional oven roasting is also great. If you want to speed this recipe up massively, you can buy and use really tasty roasted peppers in jars.

Roasted Red Pepper Bruschetta
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6 slices
 

Toasted ciabatta piled with roasted red peppers, red onion, tomato and balsamic; a sure-fire palate opener or tasty snack
Ingredients
  • ½ ciabatta loaf
  • 175g red peppers
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
  • ⅓ red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 tomato, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • ⅓ bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of paprika
  • salt

Instructions
  1. Either flame-roast or conventionally roast your red peppers. If you are doing this in the oven, preheat it to 200ºC, brush the peppers with a little oil, sprinkle over a little salt and maybe a pinch of smoked paprika, and roast for 25-35 minutes until they are soft and coloured. Let them cool enough to remove the seeds before chopping them into thick ribbon strands.
  2. Let the oven cool a while and then turn the grill on. Cut your ciabatta into thick slices (about 2.5cm wide), brush one side with olive oil and grill with the oil-brushed side up until just crisp and golden. Remove the bread and let cool.
  3. Combine the roasted peppers, tomato, garlic, onion and basil in a small mixing bowl, then spoon out over the toast. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, garnish with a sprig of basil and serve straight away so that you can enjoy them warm.

Notes
If you’re using pre-roasted peppers, you’ll whip this snack up in 10 minutes!

 

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About Gianluca Dievole

My Badge: Assistant

About

Buon' giorno! Welcome to my Italian food blog. I am Italian, and proud of it! Italy has so much going for it: with one foot quite literally in the beautiful Mediterranean, my country’s climate and location give us an amazing cornucopia of ingredients, which is why our culture is steeped in a hearty romantic culinary tradition. My wife and I love our food, so all my recipes are designed for two. If you're cooking for an average sized modern family - perhaps not the traditional extended Italian family - just double the quantities.