Friday, December 16, 2011

5 Spice Calamari

The whole family really likes fried calamari.  Lucky for us it's in season right now and I was able to get my Monterey calamari at Fish. in Sausalito.  Check with your favorite fish monger, it's really worth it.  Unfortunately, most places use dairy in their fried calamari, and then those that don't obviously use regular flour.  I stole the "5 spice" part from a recipe posted on Epicurious and then modified it to suit our needs.  I did make the dipping sauce, which turned out excellent, and then served it with a green salad and some very simple mashed combo sweet potato and hannah yam.  I only added olive oil and salt to the mash and it turned out great as well.

Dipping sauce
2 tablespoons organic sesame oil
2 tablespoons minced shallot
1 tablespoon honey (get raw and local to your area)
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 teaspoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos
2 teaspoons fish sauce (nam pla)
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup mayonnaise--if you can't make your own, use one without canola or soy products.

Sunflower oil or Grapeseed oil (for frying)
1 cup all almond flour (Bob's Red Mill is okay but Honeyville's version is finer and costs less in bulk)
1 tablespoon organic chinese five-spice powder  check out the FDA's guidelines (in the condiment section) for what is allowed into regular packaged spices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2-3 egg whites whisked--you can omit this if you have egg allergies
 15 ounces cleaned calamari, tentacles left whole, bodies cut into 1/2-inch rings 
For dipping sauce:
Combine all ingredients except mayonnaise in processor. Blend well. Transfer to bowl. Stir in mayonnaise. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Whisk before serving.)
For calamari:
Pour oil to depth of 1.5 inches in heavy large pot. Heat to 350°F. Use a candy/fry thermomater keep an eye on the temperature. Whisk next 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Dip the calamari in the egg wash. Working in batches, remove calamari; dredge in flour mixture, but don't let it sit in the flour, it will get goopy. Fry until just crisp, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Serve warm with sauce. Season with salt.

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