It’s great to see so much greenery, blooms and fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables in the garden and at the Prahran market this Spring. Lots of inspiration to get into the kitchen;
I’m no green thumb, so growing herbs is not for me (I’m the type that kills succulents), but I’m very happy to fill my shopping basket with some. Using fragrant and fresh herbs in your salads can add so much variety to your menu. Walking the aisles of the fruit stallholders in Prahran market, the fragrant dill and refreshing mint captured my attention, it is such a great pairing with seafood. Off into the Bracher arcade, I go, and straight to the fish shop. Spoiled for choice, the glistening calamari caught my eye.
Calamari is one of our favourites when it comes to seafood. It’s beautifully tender and delicate flavour that cooks so nicely on the BBQ, flash fried, or grilled. I know together with this salad, it will be a hit. I’m grateful to the friendly staff at Prahran Seafoods who cleaned my calamari for me, that’s one less messy job I have to do at home. Fresh is best and the trick with calamari is not to overcook it. However, if your fishmonger does not have fresh calamari available you can try either of these tricks to tenderise it;
a) Soak the rings in milk for half an hour and rinse well before using.
B) Use kiwi fruit slices. The fruit’s acidity will also tenderise the rings, for this process you will need a maximum of 10 minutes.
No matter which option you use, ensure you rinse the calamari really well after doing so.
For today’s calamari, I am going to dust it in a combination of flour and fine semolina to fry. This is such a nice and crispy coating that both kids and adults alike will love. Alternatively, use equal parts self-raising flour and rice flour. Prepare the salad first, that way you just need to cook the calamari and enjoy it. tHe The calamari in this dish is hot and crispy on the outside, tender on the inside. Don’t forget to include some extra lemon wedges, for those who would like some extra citrus. My mouth is watering already.
Crispy Fried Calamari with a Spring herb salad
SPRING HERB SALAD
250 g white cabbage
3/4 cup dill chopped
3/4 cup flat leaf parsley chopped
1/4 cup mint chopped
3 spring onion sprigs
Zest of 1 lemon
The juice of half a lemon
2 pinches salt
1/3 of a cup olive oil.
1 lemon for additional wedges/ garnish
3 cleaned fresh calamari (1kg before being cleaned)
3/4 cup self raising flour
3/4 cup fine semolina
500ml Rice bran oil/ vegetable oil for frying.
Start with the salad first and set aside.
- Using a mandolin, slice you cabbage as fine as you can and place into a large salad bowl.
- Chop up all your herbs and spring onion, adding to the cabbage.
- Add the zest of the lemon to the salad, and toss well.
- Lastly add the dressing, olive oil, salt and the lemon juice. Have a little taste test, and add more lemon if you would like and extra zing.
- Place flour and semolina into a clean plastic bag or bowl and mix.
- Using a sharp knife cut fresh calamari into 1cm wide rings. Cut the tentacles in half.
- Dust the calamari into the flour and semolina. Shake off any excess flour and place onto a dish.
- Heat oil in a wok on a high to medium heat.
- Gently place calamari into the hot oil and fry till golden on both sides (be careful as calamari may pop in the hot oil ). Do not overcrowd your wok and cook in batches.
- Drain onto paper towelling & season lightly with salt.
Serve the calamari immediately whilst hot, some extra lemon wedges along with spring herb salad.
Pay the Prahran market a visit HERE