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Friday, July 30, 2010

Fish or Shrimp Fried in Leavened Batter ( Dorati Frutti Di Mare)

This is also known as seafood Alla El Capitan D's  in my house and there is a funny little story behind this name. Years ago when my Zio Alfonzo was visiting us in Charleston from Naples, Italy he told my Dad he was craving some famous Charleston SC seafood so my Dad told him he knew of a very nice little fish shack  near by. When I asked my Zio what was the name of this place my father was taking him to he replied, " A very nice place called......uhm... how do you say.... oh yes, El Capitan D's."
  This recipe is from a cookbook my father gave me  called Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan when I got married and it has been my main source of Italian cookery ever since. It was intended for shrimp but I use it for fish as well. It is a very fluffy and crispy coating similar to the fish shacks you find near the coast of SC or like you get at that very nice fish place Captain D's!
This recipe is for 2 pounds of seafood but you can double (or even triple) it by doubling the ingredients except for the yeast, leave that amount (1 1/2 teaspoons) the same.
2 pounds of shrimp (deveined and peeled with the tails still on) or fish fillets Fresh or Frozen/defrosted
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup all purpose flour
Enough vegetable oil to come to about 1 1/2 inches up the sides of the pan, dutch oven, or Fry Daddy.
Lemon Wedges for serving (This is a must in our house and the classic Italian and SC way but you can use malted vinegar)
Shell, clean, and dry the shrimp or clean, fillet, and pat dry the fish (you can also buy prepared shrimp or fish fresh or frozen and just defrost)
Dissolve the yeast in the water. Break both eggs into a bowl, add 2 teaspoons salt, and beat well with a fork
Add the yeast & water and while beating add the flour through a mesh strainer
Allow this to sit for 20 minutes
Heat up the oil to 375-400 (a thermometer is very helpful because if the oil is not hot enough the seafood will be soggy and greasy) I do mine at 400 although  most recipes call for 375 just try them both out and see what you like.
Dip the seafood into the batter, allowing excess batter to fall off, and slip into the oil, do not crowd the pan (again, this will cause soggy seafood rather than crispy)
As soon as they are golden and have formed a crust on both sides ( you need to turn once) transfer to paper towels or newspaper or paper bags (for draining) and than a rack. Salt on one side while still hot. I place a rack on a sheet pan in the oven on 250/low and this keeps everything warm and crispy!
Continue this process allowing the oil to heat back up in between batches (again, soggy/crispy) until they are done.
At the end remove the chips and salt, these are for the cook!

Serve with lemon or vinegar and a big salad, this makes up for all of the fried food ; )
~My Zio Alfonzo & Dad 2005~

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