There’s only one thing that could match the effect of a world without bacon—one without cheese. What would happen to pizza? What about pasta? How about Cheetos?
Whenever I have intense cheesy cravings, I pray to the almighty cheese gods for a blessing. Maybe this time I got a little too whiny that they sent me an insurmountable quantity through their divine dairy messenger, Perfect Italiano. If you don’t believe me, take a good look at our fridge right now.
You probably have two questions in your head: what are we gonna do with all this cheese, and what is Perfect Italiano? For the cheese, we did a deep-fried parmesan recipe below that you can prepare for get-togethers. On top of that, you better prepare your pizza ideas for next week as we’ll be making them in our first Pepper.ph Pizza Week. (Check out Burger Week if you haven’t.)
So this brings us to the next question, what is Perfect Italiano?
Perfect Italiano is a premium, Australian cheese brand that sells Romano, Mozzarella, and Parmesan. These past few weeks, they’ve been wanting to get to know the Filipino food community online so they created four little chefs called the Prefettos to invade three food blogs. Primo (Romano) and Amadore (Mozzarella) went over to the devil king Erwan Heussaff of The Fat Kid Inside and they were made into a risotto. Graziano (Pizza Plus) went to Pinoy Food Blog and was baked into a 3-Cheese White Lasagna. Ilario, the sous-chef, resident clown and Parmesan specialist landed in the pixels of Pepper.ph to help us make today’s Parmesan-Crusted Calamari.
You’ll usually find parmesan cheese grated over pasta, soup or risotto; but for today, we decided to use it to coat some squid rings. What really makes this dish special is that you’re basically biting into a thin layer of crispy cheese that’s an absolute joy to consume with the relatively timid-tasting squid. Of course, calamari is usually as dry as your morning throat, so you’ll want some dipping sauce with it, so we prepared a mayonnaise dip mixed with some broccoli for a fresh change from your usual tartar sauce.
The one downside of this dish is that it looks almost exactly like your average calamari. But that’s kind of a good thing, really. Imagine the pleasant shock on their faces when they bite and discover a cheesy surprise wrapped around those tentacles.
Parmesan-Crusted Calamari with Broccoli-Parmesan Aioli Dip
Total Time: 30 minutes / Yield: 3-4 servings
Ingredients for the Parmesan-Crusted Calamari
- 500 grams squid rings, already cleaned
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup flour
- 2 pcs egg, beaten
- 100g parmesan (we used Perfect Italiano)
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- Oil for deep frying
Ingredients for the Broccoli-Parmesan Aioli Dip
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup blanched broccoli florets
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (we used Perfect Italiano)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
Procedure for Broccoli-Parmesan Aioli Dip
- Put everything in a blender and process until smooth.
- Set aside to allow the ingredients and flavors to meld.
Procedure for Parmesan-Crusted Calamari
- Marinate squid in salt and pepper.
- In a bowl, combine parmesan and bread crumbs.
- Dip squid in flour, then in egg, and finally in the parmesan-breadcrumbs mix.
- Deep fry in batches, for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown.
- Drain oil using paper towels.
- Serve with broccoli parmesan aioli.