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Calamari with Piquillo Pesto

Calamari with Piquillo Pesto
YIELDS
4 servings

Piquillo peppers are Spanish peppers that are red, long and taper at the end. They are sweet and a little spicy. You can get canned piquillo peppers at gourmet grocery stores. In a pinch, you can use pepperoncini, an Italian small sweet pepper that can be green or red. This piquillo pesto is packed with tangy flavour, a delicious contrast to the salty, crispy calamari. I use 2 cloves of garlic because I love the intense garlic flavour, but if garlic isn’t your thing, feel free to use only 1 clove. This yields 4 servings as an appetizer.

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Ingredients

Calamari

1
L grape seed oil
2
cup all purpose flour
½
cup cornmeal, cayenne
1
tsp cayenne pepper
2
tsp paprika
2
tsp salt
2
lb(s) cleaned squid, cut into ¼ inch rings

Piquillo Pesto

½
cup drained canned piquillo pepper
2
large garlic, cloves
1
Tbsp toasted pine nuts
2
Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1
Tbsp chopped fresh basil
2
Tbsp chopped chives
2
tsp lemon, juice
3
Tbsp olive oil
1
Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
coarse salt, and freshly cracked black pepper

Assembly

lemon, wedges
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Directions

Step 1

Mix flour, cornmeal, cayenne, paprika, and salt in a shallow dish.

Step 2

Put the grape seed oil in a small, deep pot with a candy thermometer. The oil should be 2 inches deep but shouldn’t be any deeper than half the height of the pot. Heat oil to 350 degrees F.

Step 3

In small batches, dredge the calamari rings in the flour mixture and shake off any excess.

Step 4

Slide the calamari into the hot oil and fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden, crisp and just cooked through.

Step 5

Do not over cook the calamari or it will be rubbery.

Step 6

Drain on paper towels.

Step 7

Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil, Parmesan and salt and pepper in a small food processor.

Step 8

Pulse until the mixture is almost smooth but still has some texture.

Step 9

With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated.

Step 10

Add the Parmesan and season to taste.

Step 11

Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Step 12

Serve the Calamari with lemon wedges and the Piquillo Pesto.

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My rating for Calamari with Piquillo Pesto
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