Calamari Fritti with Pepperoncini Aioli

serves 4-6


1 pound squid bodies, rinsed, patted dry with paper towels and sliced into 1/2-inch rings

1 cup milk

1 extra large egg

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon paprika

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Vegetable oil for frying


Accompaniments

Lemon wedges

Pepperoncini Aioli, recipe follows


In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg.  Add the squid rings, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes and up to an hour.


Pour about 2 inches of oil in a fryer or large, heavy pot and heat the oil to 375º F.  In a pie plate, whisk together the flour, basil, paprika, then season the mixture with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Toss a few of the calamari at a time in the seasoned flour to coat.  Fry for 1-3 minutes or until golden brown.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to paper towels to drain.  Season with a sprinkle of kosher salt. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and Pepperoncini Aioli.  Enjoy!


Pepperoncini Aioli

makes about 3/4 cup


8-10 pepperoncini peppers, stems removed, drained and roughly chopped

1 medium garlic clove, minced

2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon pepperoncini pickle juice

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


In the bowl of food processor, process the peppers, garlic, and parsley until finely chopped. (You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times).  Add the mayonnaise and pickle juice and process until combined.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.  Enjoy!


Source: Calamari adapted from foodnetwork.com, Pepperoncini Aioli from The Galley Gourmet