Crispy Squid & Shrimp Platter
Have you ever been legit scared of a dish, to the point where you refused to try it, only to find out years later that it was so unbelievably delicious that you kind of kicked yourself for missing out? Yes? Growing up in a reasonably secluded (and awesome) part of Eastern Canada, most foods have at some point been a new & exciting experience for me. Sushi, took me years to get into. The first time I tried Indian food I literally though I’d died and gone to heaven. Proper BBQ (God Bless you, Tennessee) changed my life.
I credit most of my food exploring to my time as a musician. Travelling all of over North America & the UK in a van absolutely opened my eyes to a world of culinary possibilities. First time I tried Indian food? Montreal. Iranian food? London, England. Sushi? Vancouver. Thai food? New York City. BBQ? Nashville. The more I tried, the more I wanted to try. It was (is) an amazing journey towards food enlightenment and awareness. The More You Know (cue NBC jingle)…
Enter, the Squid. Honestly, I was scared of squid for a very long time. I was aware that many, many people loved and ate squid on the daily. But there was something about the slimmy, creepy crawly-ness of my crustacean friend that just freaked me out. But as with most fear-factor style eating, beer made its way onto the scene, and I tried calamari. Flavour EXPLOSION!! What! So good. Crispy, delicious, amazing, fantastic, mouth-watering, etc etc etc.
This recipe is summer food at its best. Outdoor eating for a crowd, lots of sunshine, and some nice cold beer = perfect. Serve up with a couple crisp salads. Perfect.
Calamari & Shrimp Platter
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon sea salt
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 lb shrimp
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chili powder
Tomato chili sauce, to serve
First, breakdown your squid. You can have your fishmonger do this for you, but it’s really quite easy, and costs substantially less to do it yourself. Youtube, friends – where you can learn to do and be anything.
Slice half of your tubes into rings. With the other half, butterfly the tubes by running a knife down one side to open it up like a book. Score the inside (white) side of the tubes in a crisscross – this will help them coil up nicely and become extra crispy.
In a bowl, combine your flour and spices, and stir together.
Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a deep dutch oven. Working in batches, first toss the tentacles in your flour, and fry until crispy (about 4 minutes). Next coat your whole tubes in the flour, and fry them, turning often, until awesome (4 minutes) .Repeat with the calamari rings (3-4 minutes each). Transfer your fried goodness to a tray lined with paper towel. Sprinkle over some sea salt, and a nice squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Heat a griddle pan to medium high. In a bowl, toss your shrimp with the chili powder & olive oil. Grill until nice and crispy (about 2 minutes per side). Season with sea salt & a squeeze of lemon juice.
Serve your platter with tomato chili sauce, lemons, and beer. Also, if you can serve up some sunshine, it’s highly recommended.