Crispy Calamari with Spicy Dipping Sauce

Starters | March 21, 2016 | By

In my family, we are serious calamari lovers — prepared any which way! Of course, you can’t go wrong with crispy, fried calamari. A lot of folks won’t even touch the tentacles, which is why you won’t see them in this recipe. The cornstarch makes these sea creatures light and crispy, and the aioli dipping sauce gives it a really nice kick. Make these as a starter or on top of your favorite salad!

Crispy Calamari with Spicy Dipping Sauce
 
Author:
Serving Size: 6
Ingredients
  • Canola or vegetable oil for frying
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • Cornstarch for dredging
  • 1 pound bag squid rings, defrosted
  • Chopped, fresh cilantro
  • Lemon wedges
Dipping Sauce
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
Instructions
  1. In a large, heavy wok or saucepan, heat the oil until very hot. Put cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Mix in Chinese 5-spice, cayenne pepper, and salt. Put the eggs in another shallow bowl. Dip the calamari into the eggs, but don't oversaturate. Then dredge calamari in the cornstarch mixture and shake off excess. Working in batches, add to the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to a cookie sheet lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Keep warm in the oven until ready to serve. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and squeeze of lemons.
  2. To make the Dipping Sauce: Combine together the mayonnaise, sambal oelek, and chili sauce. Serve along side the calamari.
  3. Notes: Sambal oelek can be found at specialty markets and some local grocery stores. You can substitute this with sriracha sauce.
  4. Adapted from: Wendy Leon/Recipe.com

 

Thai Steamed Mussels

Thai Steamed Mussels

I recently went to this incredible seafood restaurant in New York City called “Flex Mussels.” On their menu they feature 23 different mussels preparations. The Thai Steamed Mussels were my favorite and I had to recreate it when I returned home! I also had a little help from my Staten Island friend, Carolyn, who shared her version of Thai mussels with me. I know most people are accustomed to the Italian preparation (which I also love), but this Asian-inspired mussels recipe is absolutely worth trying. I promise! Make sure to have a side of crusty bread for dipping in the yummy sauce!

Thai Steamed Mussels
 
Author:
Serving Size: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 3 large shallots, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped leeks (whites only)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, finely chopped (soft white bulb only)
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Zest from one lime
  • 1 13-oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3 cups dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons green curry paste
  • 6 pounds fresh mussels
  • Chopped fresh cilantro to garnish
Instructions
  1. Clean, scrub, and de-beard mussels. Discard any open mussels. Heat coconut oil in a heavy sauce pan, Dutch oven, or wok. Add shallots, garlic, leeks, and lemongrass and sauté 3 minutes, until fragrant. Stir in red pepper flakes and lime zest. Add in coconut milk, fish sauce, white wine, and curry paste. Stir well and bring to a boil. Add mussels, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 8 to 10 minutes until mussels are open. Sprinkle with cilantro to garnish. Serve with crusty bread for dipping.
  2. Adapted from: Carolyn Decorato

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Shrimp & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce

Starters | February 3, 2016 | By

Don’t these look fancy? You can make these at home! Rice paper wrappers used to be hard to come by, but now they are sold at your local grocery store. I’ve even seen brown rice paper wrappers, which I would not recommend because they taste rubbery. You roll these just like a burrito: (how to wrap a spring roll). Here’s the great thing about these spring rolls — you can fill them with just about anything! I’ve used shrimp in this recipe, but chicken is a perfectly good substitute. Vegetarian rolls are also very tasty. Feel free to experiment with these! The spicy dipping sauce is the perfect condiment on the side. Go ahead, roll with it! Your dinner guests will be bragging on you for days!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Shrimp & Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
 
Author:
Serving Size: 8
Ingredients
  • 8 large cooked shrimp, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
  • 8 8.5" round rice paper wrappers
  • 2 oz. rice vermicelli or bean thread vermicelli
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • 16 large basil leaves
  • 3 large lettuce leaves, chopped
  • Toasted sesame seeds
Dipping Sauce
  • ¼ cup light soy sauce
  • ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
Instructions
  1. In medium saucepan, add vermicelli to boiling water and remove from heat for 5 minutes. Drain water and set aside to cool.
  2. Working one at a time, soak spring roll wrappers in warm water for 15 seconds. Place on flat surface and working from bottom third of the wrapper arrange lettuce, carrots, handful of vermicelli, 2 basil leaves, 2-3 shrimp pieces, and sprinkle of sesame seeds. Rolling the spring roll like a burrito, fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper, beginning at the bottom of the wrapper to the top. Lay the finished spring roll on a tray lined with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Repeat with remaining wrappers. When all spring rolls are finished, cover the tray tightly and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. Cut spring rolls in half on an angle when ready to serve. Serve with the dipping sauce.
Peanut Dipping Sauce
  1. Combine all ingredients into a food processor or blender until well blended. Serve on the side with spring rolls.
Notes
Make sure to have all of your ingredients ready to go before you start soaking the rice paper wrappers!
To toast the sesame seeds: Place in a skillet on the stove over medium heat and dry toast it until light brown. Don't overcook.