Sometimes I decide that I should really learn how to make something that I typically order in a restaurant. The problem is that these menu items are typically not the healthiest choices. Fried calamari is a prime example. I consider myself a bit of a calamari snob when it comes to the fried delicacy. I’ve had some of the best and some of the worst versions of fried calamari, and plenty in between. My blog followers know that I have a deep fryer and am not afraid to use it. Frying, however, can be intimidating and a bit of a hassle. For the calamari, I decided not to break out the deep fryer and just worked out of a pot of oil on the stove.Of course, maintaining oil temperature is key in frying, so you’ll want to make sure that you have reliable thermometer. As for my recipe, I figured no one has ever complained about my fried chicken or chicken tenders, so I would use the same basic recipe with a few minor adjustments. I did soak the calamari rings in buttermilk, but only for 40-60 minutes rather than overnight as I would for chicken. I also added a healthy bit of Old Bay Seasoning to my breading mixture because it just has that flavor that I associate with seafood. I like well breaded calamari (if I’m going to splurge and have fried food, why not go all out?), so I did not shake off the excess breading mixture before adding to the fryer – this is optional depending on your breading preference. I served the calamari with a traditional arabiata (spicy) red sauce with some added parmesan, but it would be great with cocktail sauce or a simple lemon garlic aioli. It is important to serve the calamari immediately after it comes out of the fryer – it has a tendency to become rubbery if you try to keep it warm in the oven.
- 1 Lb. Calamari (fresh or frozen thawed) – Rings and Tentacles
- 2 Cups Buttermilk
- 2 Eggs – beaten with 1 TBS. water
- 2 Cups Flour
- 2 TBS. Corn Starch
- 2-3 TBS. Old Bay (or other seafood seasoning)
- Canola or Vegetable Oil (amount varies depending on size of pot – enough to cover bottom 3 inches of pot)
- Fresh Lemon Wedges
- Dipping Sauce (either marinara, arabiata, cocktail, or aioli)
Pour buttermilk into a large non-reactive bowl. Add calamari, and allow to soak a minimum of 30 minutes, but up to 4 hours. Combine flour, cornstarch, and seasoning in a medium sized bowl. Place beaten eggs in a small bowl. In the meantime, heat the oil to 350 Degrees. Remove calamari from buttermilk, dunk in egg mixture, and then dredge in flour mixture. Shake off excess flour (unless you like a lot of breading) and set breaded calamari on a wire cooling rack. Repeat process until all of the calamari is breaded. Working in batches (do not overcrowd the pot or you will not be able to maintain a consistent oil temperature), fry the calamari for 3-4 minutes until breading is golden brown. Avoid overcooking the calamari or it will be rubbery. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to remove the calamari from the oil, set on a wire cooling rack covered in paper towel to allow any excess oil to drain off. Repeat frying process for remainder of breaded calamari. Serve with lemon wedges and dipping sauce of your choice.