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Caesar Salad with Fried Oysters and Calamari


Oysters and squid (a.k.a. its more poetic Italian name, calamari) are deep-fried until crispy golden, then nestled in lemony-tart, leafy greens. This heavenly Caesar ispectacular.

1 large head romaine lettuce, rinsed, dried, broken into bite-size pieces
2 big, fat garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can (2 ounces) anchovy fillets, drained, chopped
1 tablespoon wholegrain or Dijon mustard
Grated zest of 1 medium lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fruity olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
About 3/4 cup all purpose flour
About 3/4 cup Japanese breadcrumbs (panko); or 1/2 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
1 large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 pounds medium-small squid (uncleaned weight), cleaned, bodies cut into 1/4 inch rings, tentacles left hole, patted dry
18 freshly-shucked oysters, well drained
Canola oil for frying
Salt


Crisp lettuce: place in plastic bag, seal, and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

Whisk the garlic, anchovies, mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, and pepper in a medium bowl until blended. Continue whisking while adding the olive oil in a thin stream until thickened. Blend in cheese. Cover and chill for several hours; rewhisk before using, if necessary.

Just before serving, place flour and breadcrumbs on 2 separate pieces of wax paper. Beat egg and milk in small bowl.

Coat the squid lightly with flour, then set on a tray or plate in a single layer. Coat the oysters lightly with flour; dip in egg mixture, allowing excess to drain, then coat with breadcrumbs. Place in a single layer on another tray or plate.

In a deep, large, heavy skillet, heat about 1 1/2 inches oil over high heat until 360 degrees F. Fry the squid in batches (covering skillet with spatter screen, if desired, as squid has a tendency to spatter while frying) for 1 minute or until crisp and pale golden--no longer; remove to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with salt.

Fry the oysters in batches for several seconds each side or until crisp and golden; remove to paper towels to drain and sprinkle with salt.

Immediately toss the crisped lettuce in a very large salad bowl with the dressing until thoroughly coated. Divide the dressed greens among chilled dinner plates and top with the just-fried oysters and calamari. Serve with extra Parmesan cheese.

Makes 6 servings


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