Kicked Up Calamari with Creole Olive Salad

4 to 6 appetizer servings
  • 1 pound cleaned squid (thawed if frozen), bodies cut into 1-inch rings, tentacles trimmed
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Essence, recipe follows
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • 1 cup masa harina (available in Latin markets and many supermarkets)
  • 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Creole Olive Salad, recipe follows
  • In a bowl, mix the buttermilk with 1/4 cup of the Essence and the hot sauce. Add the squid and marinate for 30 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature.

  • In a shallow dish, combine the masa harina and all-purpose flour with the remaining 2 tablespoons Essence.

  • Into a large, deep pot or deep fryer, pour enough oil to come halfway up the sides and heat to 360 degrees F.

  • In batches, remove the squid from the buttermilk mixture and dredge in the flour mixture, shaking to remove any excess flour. Without crowding, carefully add the squid to the hot oil and deep-fry, turning occasionally to prevent the pieces from sticking together, until golden on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with salt and pepper.

  • To serve, place the calamari on plates, sprinkle with the Parmesan, and top with the olive salad.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

  • 2 tablespoons salt

  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder

  • 1 tablespoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon onion powder

  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme

  • Combine all ingredients thoroughly.

  • Yield: 2/3 cup

  • Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.

Creole Olive Salad:
  • 1 cup pitted brine-cured black olives, such as Nicoise, sliced

  • 1 cup large (queen) pimiento-stuffed olives, sliced

  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped celery

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • In a bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. The salad can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.

  • Yield: about 2 1/2 cups

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