Fried Calamari


This is an appetizer that can be found on restaurant menus near and far these days. Some people love it, some people say “eew I don’t like squid”, some people don’t realize they’re eating squid when they eat this and love it until they know what it is. I love it either way and I’ve had many good and many bad orders of calamari in my day. It should be tender, NOT chewy and overcooked. It should have a light, crunchy well-seasoned batter that doesn’t over-power the taste of the seafood itself. When done correctly, fried calamari is a crowd-pleaser (even if people don’t know what it is they are eating!).

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Why this was the first time I’d ever made fried calamari, I don’t know. I have cooked calamari other ways before. It is wonderful grilled and pan-fried besides the traditional deep-frying but that is what I set out to do this time. This was made as part of a post New Years celebration and seafood is always traditional for me around New Years so this fit the bill.

I wasn’t sure how this would stack-up compared to restaurant orders of fried calamari but I have to say it was excellent! The buttermilk and seasonings in this recipe are a perfect combination and the coating is the right thickness to add nice crunchiness without over-powering the taste of the squid itself! Calamari is usually served with a dipping source, usually marinara, but I prefer a creamy accompaniment so I served it with a peppercorn ranch dressing that I had on hand. This would be excellent with a homemade aioli I’m thinking as well. I was planning on making a homemade aioli but just ran out of time. The ranch didn’t disappoint however- this was just as good as what you’d expect at your local restaurant! If you want to get really fancy, try frying up a few mushrooms, olives or blanched veggies like cauliflower or broccoli to serve along side!

***PRINTABLE RECIPE (FRIED CALAMARI PDF)***

Fried Calamari

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • ½ tbsp. kosher salt + additional for seasoning after frying
  • ½ tbsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 lb. squid, cleaned and cut into ½-inch rings
  • Lemon wedges, optional
  • Marinara sauce, ranch dressing or aioli for dipping, optional

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat to 375 degrees F (read with a candy or fry thermometer)
  • Prepare the calamari (clean and slice)

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  • Pour buttermilk into a medium bowl
  • In a second medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder
My set-up for frying in my tiny kitchen

My set-up for frying in my tiny kitchen

 

  • Dip squid rings into the buttermilk and then into the flour mixture
  • In batches, fry the coated squid in the hot oil, turning if necessary until lightly browned

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  • Remove to paper towel lined plate to drain with a spider and sprinkle lightly with kosher salt while still hot
  • Continue with remaining calamari, keeping earlier batches warm under aluminum foil or in a 250 degree F oven. Serve hot
  • Serve with lemon wedges and dipping sauce, if desired

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7 responses to “Fried Calamari

  1. Your recipe looks very traditional and delicious. I also like to prepare the rings in a quick saute of oil, butter, lemon juice, garlic and parsley. Calamari does not need to cook for very long. It is very tender if cooked quickly.

    • I have done it that was as well! It’s great on it’s own or with pasta that way! Yea, if you overcook it it will get so tough! I love it when it’s done right.

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