I'm sure I've mentioned more than once that my preferred cure for a cold includes copious amounts of chilli peppers. Now that this cold is old enough to write a driver's exam, hot and spicy foods are pretty much a mainstay in my diet.
Then again, when are they not?
And no, this is not going to be the post on how I dimwittedly welcomed back this cold with open arms. Well, not so open arms as I will, at some point, reveal.
Anyway...hot peppers. Love them. Absolutely love them. I prefer the fresh, green heat of bird's eye chillis--especially with eggs and in Pad Thai--but there there's also room in my pantry and gullet for pickled peppers...preferably prodigious pecks of pickled peppers.
Back when I could afford to eat out more than I currently do, my dearest TFE and I would occasionally have dinner at one of those chain roadhouses that overplays a theme. Now, as you know, he wasn't called The Fussy Eater for nothing. On his list of inedible foods was all things that came from or near the water. Yes, it could be frustrating, but really all it meant was I didn't have to share bowls of mussels, platters of crab and lobster dips or platefuls of deep fried calamari. One of my favourite appetiser-for-a-meals was a sizzling plate of calamari with hot banana peppers.
Earlier this week I had a craving for that meal. But quite honestly I didn't feel like trekking out to that restaurant and paying $10 to satisfy my craving...not when I could make it for much, much less.
As it's been a while since I had it, I had to go with taste memory: crispy squid with bell and hot pickled peppers. I'd have this as a meal, but it would easily be appetisers for two or three people.
Calamari and Peppers
1 dspn Old Bay Seasoning (I used the lemon and herb kind, but regular would work as well)
1 dspn sweet paprika
salt and pepper
150g calamari rings
peanut oil for frying
half an onion, slivered top to tail
1 bell pepper, slivered
1 garlic clove, minced
pickled banana peppers, to taste
1 tsp pickling vinegar from the peppers
sweet chilli sauce
While heating the peanut oi, mix together the flour, Old Bay, paprika, salt and pepper. Dredge the squid in the spiced flour.
When the oil is hot enough, drop the dredged squid bits, in small batches, into the oil and fry for two-three minutes. Remove from oil and drain on paper towelling. Sprinkle with salt.
Sauté bell peppers and onions. Add garlic and stir for a minute or two, add banana pepper rings. Tip in the calamari, stir and add a squirt or two of chilli sauce and the vinegar. Stir and sprinkle with additional Old Bay and salt.