Tag Archives: pickled shallots

Fried Calamari Tacos with Fried Caper Pickled Shallot and Lemon Aioli

16 Nov

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.

Lemon Aoili:

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.

Pickled Shallots and Sardines on Blue Cheese Toast

24 Jul

This is a pictureless post, because it’s something I eat for lunch in the office and I haven’t been able to either get my wits about me enough in the morning to remember to pack the camera or get a picture that looks like more than a blurry blob with my super crappy cell phone in our not-so-well-lighted lunch room.  But the results are so delicious – and such a great way to use the pickled shallots I recently posted – that I absolutely could not resist posting it.

This lunch is super inappropriate to eat in the office.  Sardines plus blue cheese plus pickles = smelly factory.  So I always make sure I have plenty of gum in my purse for after.  Because as a huge lover of both sardines and blue cheese, once I started thinking about this dish I absolutely could not get it out of my mind.  Also, since we went on vacation a bit back, I had been holding off on grocery shopping until we’d received our first week’s CSA share – so things were looking a bit sparse in both the pantry and refrigerator.

Those lean times tend to be when I make some of my favorite dishes, and this is no exception.  So much that I made it again a few days later, when my pantry and fridge were fully stocked.  This open-faced sandwich is definitely not for the faint of heart (err … palate).  The blue cheese is pungent and rich and creamy.  The sardines are, well, sardine-y – briney and delicious.  The pickles are packed with a punch of coriander and vinegar, cutting through the richness of the cheese and fishiness of the sardines.  Balanced with a punch of mustard, this whole dish is spot on.

Pickled Shallots and Sardines on Blue Cheese Toast

4 slices whole wheat bread

1 can sardines packed in oil or water (your preference), chilled and drained, roughly chopped

1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles

1/3 cup pickled shallots and garlic, thinly sliced

2 tbs. pickling liquid from pickled shallots and garlic

1 heaping tsp. Dijon mustard

Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Lightly toast the whole wheat bread.  Top each slice with half of the blue cheese crumbles.

Transfer either to a preheated broiler or place in the microwave for about thirty seconds until cheese is bubbling and melting.

Meanwhile, whisk together the pickle juice and mustard.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Top each cheesy toast slice with sardines, sliced pickles, and a tablespoon or so of the pickle juice mixture.

Pickled Shallots and Garlic

16 Jul

As I was pouring the pickling liquid over the spicy coriander and ginger pickles I posted a bit back, Zak came home from a walk with the dog and asked if I could add some shallots.  Because the volume had been measured already, I couldn’t.  What I could do, however, was pickle up some shallots and a head of garlic separately, using another batch of the same brine.  I mean, I already had the spices out, right?

I’m very glad I made this.  The garlic makes for an excellent snack.  The shallots, sliced or chopped up, work as a really nice topping on all sorts of sandwiches (one of which I’ll be posting shortly).  Similar to the pickled red onions and cucumbers I made previously from Michael Symon’s pickling recipe, these are being quickly devoured.

Pickled Shallots and Garlic

Adapted from Live to Cook by Michael Symon

1 cup shallots, peeled

1 head garlic, peeled

Vinegar – half apple cider vinegar, half rice wine vinegar


Kosher salt

2 tbs. coriander seeds

1 tbs. mustard seeds

1 tbs. crushed red pepper flakes

1 tbs. black peppercorns

2-3 bay leaves

Pack the shallots and garlic in a 1-quart jar and cover with water to come within 1/2″ of the rim.  Pour the water out into a measuring cup.  Note the volume, then pour off half of the water.  Replace it with half apple cider vinegar and half rice wine vinegar.

Pour the vinegar mixture into a nonreactive saucepan.  Add 2 tbs. sugar and 2 tbs. salt for every 3 cups of liquid.  Add the mustard seeds, red pepper flakes, coriander seeds, black peppercorns, garlic, and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Allow the liquid to boil for 2 minutes, then remove from heat. Pour the hot liquid into the jar over the onions.  Stir to evenly distribute the spices.

Screw on the lids and shake a few times.  Let cool to room temperature.  Transfer to refrigerator.  Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

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