This fried calamari recipe is the best we’ve ever had. It satisfies that restaurant-appetizer itch gloriously. (Y’all know what I’m talking about–when the only thing you want in life is to devour a platter of calamari and a TGI Friday’s appetizer sampler: buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, potato skins–the works. Is it just me?)
We use the dry breaded method, tossing the squid in a mixture of flour, semolina flour, and cornmeal. This blend provides the perfect crunch and depth of flavor.
As for the question of the squid itself, some say that there are two kinds of people in the world–those who like the calamari rings, and those who like the tentacles.
In our family, we’re definitely fighting over the crispiest and crunchiest tentacles. Regardless of your preferences, though, this recipe will produce some of the best, crispiest calamari you’ve ever had!
We like this recipe so much, we also used it to make a Chinese Salt and Pepper Squid so be sure to check that recipe out and maybe make both for an east meets west kind of meal!
Fried Calamari: Recipe Instructions
First prepare your squid. Rinse it well in cold water. Cut the tentacles off using one cut, keeping about a 1/4 inch of the hood in order to keep all the tentacles in one piece.
If you’re using larger squid, you can cut these pieces in half lengthwise in order to make them bite-sized. Having each piece roughly the same size is important for achieving the same cooking time for each piece of calamari.
In a medium-sized deep pot, add enough oil so that the level of oil reaches 4 inches up the side of the pot. Heat the oil until it reaches 325 degrees F.
While you’re waiting for the oil to heat, mix up your dry mixture. Combine the all-purpose flour, semolina flour, cornmeal, Old Bay, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
When the oil reaches temperature, you’re ready to start dredging your squid. Work in batches of small fistfuls of calamari. Gently squeeze off any liquid and dredge the squid in the dry mixture.
Using a long-handled sieve or slotted spoon, lower the calamari into the hot oil. Gently move the calamari pieces back and forth. Let them fry until golden brown–about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Remove all the calamari and let drain on a paper-towel-lined plate. Taste one piece of calamari for saltiness (Be careful, it’s hot!). You can sprinkle more salt immediately after frying to your taste. Continue frying in these small batches until you’ve fried all the squid.
Serve your crispy fried calamari with marinara sauce or tartar sauce and a few lemon wedges on the side!
Proceed to marvel at the fact that you can now have enormous portions of restaurant-quality calamari appetizers at home.