Ingredients for Batter
- 1 cup Cashew Cream
- 1 tablespoon toasted nori flakes, finely ground
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablepsoons filtered water
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Ingredients for Hearts of Palm Calamari
- Two 14-Ounce cans hearts of palm (12), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal or polenta
- 1 cup rice flour
- 1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning, plys more to taste
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more or taste
- 1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, pls more to taste
- Expeller-pressed canola oil, for frying
- Cocktail Sauce
- Lemon-Caper Aioli
1) To prepare the batter: Put the cashew cream in a bowl and add the water, ground nori, salt, and pepper. Stie the batter to combine; it should be smooth and not gloppy in the slightest. Set aside at room temperature to let the flavors meld while you prepare the hearts of palm.
2) To prepare the hearts of palm calamari: Trim both ends of each heart of palm to expose the center; this will make it easier to see and remove. Working from the narrow end, gently push out the insides of each cylinder, using your pinkie or a chopstick. Some pieces will be easier to gut than other-don’t worry if a few split. (Reserve the insides for another use)
3) Using a paring knife, carefully cut each hollow spear into four 1-inch wide rings. You should end up with about 48 pieces.
4) Add the hearts of palm to the cashew cream batter, gently turning the piecesover with your hands until thoroughly coated. Set Aside.
5) Put the cornmeal in a food processor and process to a fine powder. Transfer to a large missing bowl, add the rice flour, Old Bay seasoning, salt, and pepper, and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly.
6) Using a slotted spoon, working in batches, scoop the hearts of palm from the batter, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, add the cornmeal mixture, and toss with your hands until evenly coated on all side. Transfer the breaded hearts of palm to a strainer set over a bowl, or work over the sink, and shake off the excess cornmeal.
7) This is a key step to ensure that the cornmeal crust is light and not clumpy whatsoever. (All of this can be prepared up to 2 hours in advance. Arrange the breaded hearts of palm in a single layer on a baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered. Allow the hears of palm to come to room temperature before frying.)
8) To Deep-fry the hearts of palm calamari: Heat 2 inches of oil to 325 F in a cast iron skillet or heavy saucepan. Working in batches, add the hearts of palm to the hot oil and fry, carefully turning with tongs, until golden brown and crispy on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the cooked pieces to a paper towel lined platter to drain. Season the hearts lightly with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of Old Bay seasoning while still hot.
9) Pile the hearts of palm on a large platter and serve with cocktail sauce and lemon-caper aioli for dipping.
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