This was a fun twist on a normal fish taco. I made it on a week night, and it came together surprisingly quickly – no more than forty minutes from start to finish. The aioli was creamy, with a punch of lemon and some heat from the raw garlic. The pickled onions were slightly sweet, interspersed with a salty pop from the fried capers. The calamari was tender and not at all rubbery, ensconced in a crunchy coating. The spice from the cayenne was subtle, but added a nice bit of flavor to the calamari itself. It made use of flavors that traditionally go well with fried calamari – lemon and garlic – but presented them in a different way that made this really interesting. I would definitely make this again, especially the tarragon and garlic lemon aioli.
Fried Calamari Tacos with Fried Caper Pickled Shallot and Lemon Aioli
Fried Calamari Tacos:
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbs. dried parsley
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Canola oil, for frying
Lemon aioli (see below)
Fried caper pickled shallot (see below)
Six 6″ flour tortillas
In a Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed sauce pan, heat about 1″ of oil over medium heat until it just begins to bubble or reaches a temperature of 350º.
Mix together flour, dried parsley, garlic powder, pepper, salt, and pepper on a shallow plate. Working in small batches, toss the squid in the flour mixture to coat.
Working in small batches, add the squid to the oil and cook about 1-2 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate.
Place about a tbs. of the lemon aioli on a tortilla. Top with a handful of calamari and a handful of onion and fried caper slaw. Serve immediately.
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tbs. fresh tarragon, finely minced
1 cup extra version olive oil
3-4 tbs. lemon juice
Put egg yolks, garlic, and tarragon in the bowl of a food processor or the bowl of an immersion blender attachment. Process until the egg yolks get frothy and lighter in color.
With the machine running, very slowly pour in the olive oil, at first drop by drop and then in a thin stream. Once the yolks have absorbed all of the olive oil, add lemon, salt, and pepper to taste.
Fried Caper Pickled Shallot:
2 medium shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tbs. capers, thinly sliced
1 tbs. white sugar
1 tbs. rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
Toss together shallots, sugar, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Using the oil from above (before your fry the calamari), add capers to the oil. Fry about 1 minute, using a mesh or spider strainer to remove.
Toss shallots with capers. Serve on top of fried calamari.