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!
Capers + Lime Calamari Salad
- 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
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.
Serve immediately on a bed or lettuce with lime wedges on the side or return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.