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Crispy Calamari with Pesto Mayonnaise Print Email


INGREDIENTS
FOR THE PESTO MAYONNAISE:
1 1/2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 egg yolk
1 cup packed parsley
1 cup packed basil
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts

FOR THE CALAMARI:
Canola oil, for frying
1/3 cup Wondra flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1 lb. cleaned calamari, heads cut into 1/4″-wide rings
2 cups milk
1 cup cauliflower florets
1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp. finely chopped preserved lemon rind (optional)
2 tbsp. finely chopped lemon segments
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. Aleppo pepper or paprika
1/2 tsp. each ground cinnamon, ground cumin, ground ginger, sweet paprika, ground lime powder (optional), and ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground fennel seed
Mixed greens, for serving

Make the pesto mayonnaise: Heat oil and garlic in a 1-qt. saucepan over low heat, and cook until garlic is soft, about 40 minutes; remove garlic, set aside, and let oil cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, salt, and yolk until smooth; slowly drizzle in cooled oil, whisking constantly, until sauce emulsifies into a smooth mayonnaise. Puree mayonnaise, reserved garlic, herbs, and nuts in a blender until smooth; transfer to a serving bowl and chill.

Pour oil to a depth of 2″ in a 6-qt. Dutch oven, and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°. Whisk together Wondra, cornstarch, and chickpea flour in a bowl; set aside. Combine calamari, milk, cauliflower, and chickpeas in a another bowl; drain and transfer to flour mixture, tossing until coated. Working in batches, fry calamari, cauliflower, and chickpeas until golden brown and calamari is cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain, and then place in a large bowl and toss with lemon rind and segments, salt, Aleppo pepper, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, paprika, lime powder, black pepper, coriander, and fennel. Transfer to a large serving platter on top of mixed greens and serve with pesto mayonnaise on the side.

SERVES 8
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