Fried Calamari, finally
Not an every day recipe, but my goodness, when you are in the mood, there's nothing like a good plate of fried squid.
Serving Size: 4 to 6
Charlie loves fried calamari very deeply, and when we are walking by the fish counter it’s the thing he begs me to make. And while as you would imagine most of me is all, “Oh, cool, Charlie, yeah, let’s do it, what a fun project!” part of me is “ugh, it’s so messy and annoying and takes too long and can’t you just order fried calamari the next time we’re at that kind of restaurant?”
But usually fun, cooking mommy capitulates and I find myself with a bag of slippery squid, and the need to remind him that this was his idea in the first place. And because I don’t do all that much frying, I don’t have an intuitive grasp of this dish, so it’s never come out quite the way I hope, light-ish and crunchy at the same time.
Yesterday, however, we nailed it. The squid was sighted, the request voiced, the purchase made, and not only Charlie but also Jack was on board.
I had once read a recipe that called for dredging the calamari rings exclusivity in cornstarch, and tried that, but they came out alarmingly white and with too unwavering a thin crackly coating. Plain flour kept getting us results that got soggy fast. So, this time we used a mixture of the two, and practically scorched our tongues trying to inhale the squid as soon as it hit the paper towels to drain.
Might I make my own marinara sauce to serve with this? I might. And after frying up all of that squid I also might open up a jar.
Fried Calamari, finally
- 2 cups vegetable or canola oil for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling the calamari
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup milk
- 1 pound squid, cleaned and cut into rings, tentacles cut into small pieces
- 1 cup marinara sauce to serve (optional)
- Lemon wedges to serve (optional)
1. In a medium sized sauce pan heat the oil over medium high heat. Place a couple of layers of paper towels on a plate and set aside.
2. While the oil is heating, in a shallow bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and cayenne pepper. In another shallow bowl combine the egg and milk.
3. When the oil is hot (you can test by coating one piece of calamari and dropping it into the oil; it should sizzle, and take about 1 to 2 minutes to brown completely), start taking a small handful of the squid and dropping them in the egg mixture, stirrying to coat. Lift them out, let the excess egg wash drip off, then transfer them to the bowl with the flour mixture. Toss to coat them completely, shake off any excess then sprinkle the pieces into the hot oil. Use a slotted spoon to move them around for 1 to 2 minutes, until they are golden brown and crispy. Remove them to the paper towel lined plate and let drain and cool slightly. Repeat with the remaining calamari.
4. Serve with marinara sauce and lemon wedges, if desired.