Fritto Misto with Calabrian Chile Aïoli

In this Fritto Misto, shrimp, calamari, olives, and fennel are dredged in a Pernod-spiked batter and fried to crispy perfection.

Fritto Misto with Calabrian Chile Aioli
Photo: PHOTO:Jose Mandojana / FOOD STYLING ROBYN VALARIK / PROP STYLING CHRISTINE WOLHEIM
Active Time:
50 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 20 mins
Yield:
4 to 6 servings

A festive mix of shrimp, calamari, anchovy-stuffed olives, and paper-thin lemon slices are dredged in a Pernod-spiked batter and fried to crispy, golden perfection. Jarred Calabrian chiles add a fruity heat to the creamy aïoli dipping sauce.

Ingredients

Chile Aïoli

  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped jarred Calabrian chiles in oil (from 1 [10-ounce] jar), or more to taste

  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus more to taste

  • 1 ½ teaspoons whole-grain mustard (such as Maille)

  • 1 ½ teaspoons tomato paste

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped (about 1 teaspoon)

  • 1 large egg yolk

  • ¾ cup grapeseed oil

  • Kosher salt, to taste

Fritti

  • 1 lemon, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, seeds removed

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 12 pitted Castelvetrano olives (from 1 [8-ounce] jar)

  • 4 anchovy fillets in oil (from 1 [3.3-ounce] jar), drained, each fillet torn crosswise into thirds

  • 1 medium (11-ounce) fennel bulb, trimmed and cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips (about 2 cups), fronds reserved for batter

  • 6 ounces tail-on peeled and deveined raw large shrimp (about 12 shrimp)

  • 6 ounces calamari tubes and small tentacles, cleaned, tubes sliced crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rings (about 3/4 cup)

  • 4 scallions, white and light green parts only, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces (about 1/2 cup)

  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • Canola oil, for frying

Batter

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 1/4 ounces)

  • ½ cup cornstarch (about 2 3/8 ounces)

  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

  • 1 ¼ cups club soda, chilled

  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) anise-flavored liqueur (such as Pernod)

Directions

Make the chile aïoli:

  1. Combine chiles, vinegar, mustard, tomato paste, garlic, and egg yolk in a food processor, and process until well combined, about 45 seconds. With food processor running, gradually drizzle in grapeseed oil in a slow, steady stream, processing until mixture is thickened and smooth, about 2 minutes, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl, and season with salt and additional vinegar to taste; set aside.

Make the fritti:

  1. Arrange lemon slices on a paper towel–lined plate, and sprinkle both sides evenly with salt. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry using paper towels; set aside. While lemons stand, stuff each olive with 1 torn anchovy piece; set aside. Place fennel strips, shrimp, calamari, scallions, and parsley each in separate bowls; set aside.

  2. Pour canola oil into a large Dutch oven to a depth of 2 inches; heat over medium to 350°F. Place a baking sheet fitted with an oven-safe wire rack in oven; preheat oven to 200°F. Line a second baking sheet with several layers of paper towels; set aside.

  3. Just before oil reaches target temperature (about 340°F), make the batter: Finely chop reserved fennel fronds to measure 1 tablespoon. Whisk together fennel fronds, flour, cornstarch, tarragon, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Gradually pour in club soda and anise-flavored liqueur, gently whisking just until combined but not smooth.

  4. Working in batches with 1 fritti ingredient at a time (and quickly so batter stays cold), use your hands to dip lemon slices, stuffed olives, fennel strips, shrimp, calamari, scallions, and parsley in batter, letting excess batter drip off. Add fritti ingredient to hot oil; fry, turning occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 1 to 3 minutes for each ingredient. Using a spider, transfer to prepared paper towel–lined baking sheet to drain; season with additional salt to taste. Place fried fritti ingredient on baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat process with remaining fritti ingredients, 1 at a time, letting oil come back up to 350°F and skimming off any floating bits of batter in between batches. Transfer fritti to a platter, and serve with aïoli.

Make Ahead

Aïoli can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator. Fritti ingredients can be prepared through step 2 and refrigerated, covered, in separate bowls up to 1 day.

Note

Jarred Calabrian chiles are available at specialty grocery stores or online at delallo.com.

Suggested Pairing

Elegant, focused Napa Valley white: Stony Hill Vineyard Chardonnay

Related Articles