Fried Calamari with Saffron Aioli and Agro dolce
A pinch saffron submerged in 1 Tbsp. warm water
4 tbsp olive oil
10 cloves garlic thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
1 handful mint leaves
1⁄4 cup capers, chopped
1⁄4 cup golden raisins, currants, or other dried fruit
2 tbsp. honey
Urfa biber, aleppo chile pepper, or crushed red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)
For the calamari:
1 lb. cleaned baby squid or calamari, tentacles left whole and bodies sliced into ½-inch-thick rings
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup rice flour
Canola oil, for frying
Lemon wedge, for squeezing
Add the egg yolks, mustard and salt and mix well to combine. Slowly pour in the canola oil, stirring constantly and quickly, until all the oil is added and the mixture thickens. mix the saffron with the lemon juice and stir. Taste it and add more salt if you like. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. After heating, add the garlic and heat for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the onion and fennel and add about 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir constantly, increase heat to soften, cook on high heat for about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and fry until slightly darkened. Add mint, capers and raisins and let it cook over high heat.
In a quarter cup of warm water, stir in the honey. Let cool. When ready to serve, fry the squid.
In a medium or a large saucepan, add enough rapeseed oil. Increase the heat to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, place a large plate next to the stove and spread a few layers of greaseproof paper on it. Combine all-purpose flour and rice flour. Dip the squid into the flour mixture and shake off as much flour as possible. When the oil is ready, add the squid. Fry it until golden brown. Transfer the fried squid to the prepared plate and season with oil and a little lemon juice as soon as it comes out of the oil. Fry the rest of the fish in the same way. Work quickly to keep the squid hot.
line a medium serving bowl with some of the aioli, and drizzle it with some of the agrodolce. Top with the squid and a sprinkling of urfa biber, and serve immediately with lemon for squeezing.