Thursday, July 19, 2018

Capers + Lime Calamari Salad #CrazyIngredientChallenge


I love the idea behind the Crazy Ingredient Challenge, but I'll be honest: I haven't been very good at participating. In the Crazy Ingredient Challenge, we are assigned two ingredients to cook and create.  Lori of Lori's Culinary Creations and Kelly of Passion Kneaded are our fearless leaders. And, unfortunately, due to lack of participation, they are calling it quits for now. Adieu, Crazy Ingredient Challenge. Sorry to see you go, but I completely understand. So, for this final month...

July's Crazy Ingredient Challenge = capers and lime

Capers are something I always have on hand. They add a nice pop of saltiness to salsas and salads. And I will never forget renting a house on the island of Ustica. When we left, after a week, Antonio, the owner, gave me a jar of home-cured capers to take with me. I may or may not have slapped a commercial label on them and brought them back to California with me. Maybe that happened...I'm not really saying.

Limes, on the other hand, I rarely buy because my parents have a Meyer lemon tree and I just use those for any citrus needs I have. I wanted to get some Makrut limes, but I couldn't find any at this time of year.


Though this recipes doesn't use them, I do have to wax nostalgic about these fruits. Have you ever used a Makrut lime? Here's a brief intro to the limes - when I used to call them 'Kaffir' limes until I discovered there is some controversy about the name 'kaffir'. Not being an Arabic speaker, I can only accept what I am reading. Apparently 'kaffir' means 'infidel' or 'non-believer'. And it's largely used as a slur.

Okay, enough said. A lime by any other names...well, they are still as aromatic, unique, and gorgeous as before. But I now call them by their religiously-neutral name!



In addition to the fruit looking like little green brains, the leaves are doubled. So unique. I wish I could have found them for this post. Oh, well...I used regular limes for this recipe. But before we get to that, here's what the other bloggers posted for our final month of the Crazy Ingredient Challenge.

Capers + Lime Calamari Salad

I decided to make a marinated calamari salad that used both capers and lime. You can check out my post HOW TO: Clean Squid, if you've never done it before.


Ingredients
  • 1 pound calamari, cleaned and tubes cut into 1" lengths
  • 6 to 8 fresh lemons, juiced (I used Meyer lemons from a tree in my parents' yard)
  • 1 fresh lime, juiced + 1 more sliced into wedges for serving
  • 2 T capers
  • 1/2 C diced yellow bell pepper (you can use any color, I just had yellow)
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 to 2 T olive oil
  • lettuce leaves for serving

Procedure
Quickly blanch the calamari and, then, place them in a glass dish and cover them with the mixture of lemon and lime juice. The calamari should be completely covered by juice; if not, you'll just want to stir them every couple of hours.

Cover the dish and place it in the refrigerator. Let the seafood marinate in the citrus juice for at least 4 hours. The calamari is already cooked from the blanching, but the marinating gives them a nice flavor.

After 4 hours, or longer, drain the juice, but reserve 2 T. Place the seafood into a large mixing bowl and add in the diced bell pepper and caper. Pour in olive oil and toss to coat. Stir in remaining citrus juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve immediately on a bed or lettuce with lime wedges on the side or return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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