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Seafood Fritto Misto

Make a quick and spicy lemon dipping sauce to accompany the fritto misto. Mix together 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbs. lemon juice and 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Ingredients:

  • Peanut oil for frying
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 lb. squid bodies and tentacles, bodies cut crosswise into rings
  • 3/4 lb. medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails intact
  • 1 lemon, ends trimmed and lemon very thinly sliced

Directions:

Heat the oil
Preheat an oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set a rack on the towels.

Fill a large, heavy saucepan with peanut oil to a depth of about 2 inches. Place over high heat and heat the oil until it reaches 400°F on a deep-frying thermometer.

Cook the seafood
In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and pepper. Working in small batches, toss the squid and shrimp in the flour mixture, coating them evenly, and shake off any excess. Using a wire skimmer, lower the seafood into the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.

Using the skimmer, remove the seafood from the oil, place on the prepared rack and transfer the baking sheet to the oven to keep warm. Let the oil return to 400°F before cooking another batch.

When all of the seafood has been fried, transfer it to a platter, garnish with the lemon slices and serve immediately. Makes about 40 pieces.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Small Plates, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).