There are plenty of recipes on how to fry the perfect calamari. My perfect recipe is one that someone else will prepare for me to enjoy without any preparation or clean up on my part.
Back to reality…I do have a couple of recipes just in case I have to get out my own frying pan and clean my own squid. Although cleaning fresh squid can prove to be quite the job they would still be my first choice but when the fresh variety is not readily available, frozen squid tubes come in handy. Unfortunately these tubes usually come minus the tentacles for those who love the crispiness they bring to the plate.
If you enjoy Panko Butterfly Shrimp the same coating works very well on calamari. The Panko breadcrumbs make a light crisp coating which retains its crispiness well after being fried. The simple flour/cornstarch combination of this recipe gives a different fried squid experience. If crispiness is the main objective smaller size squid would be the best choice. Using the larger rings may not give an overly crisp texture and should be served immediately after being fried for best results.
Regardless of the method or type of squid used it’s equally important to tenderize the squid in buttermilk beforehand to eliminate its stringy texture and fry at high temperature for a short period of time being careful not to overcook.
A little time and effort is needed in preparing your own fried calamari but well worth the effort. Don’t wait for someone to volunteer frying up a batch and presenting it on a silver platter…I’m still waiting!
Fried Calamari Rings
1 ½ pounds fresh or thawed squid
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup corn starch
½ teaspoon each salt and pepper
about 1 cup buttermilk for tenderizing squid
oil for frying
- If using frozen squid defrost in cold salted water.
- Drain and cut tubes into ½ inch wide rings then pat dry with paper towels.
- Tenderize rings in buttermilk at least 1 hour, drain.
- Heat oil in a deep heavy bottomed pot to 375 degrees F.
- Meanwhile mix together flour, corn starch, pepper and salt
- Add squid rings to flour mixture and coat well.
- Transfer to a fine mesh sieve lightly shaking off excess flour.
- Fry calamari in small batches until golden, 1 to 1 ½ minutes being careful not to overcrowd.
- Using a slotted spoon or tongs transfer rings to a paper towel lined plate.
- Salt just before serving with lemon wedges or lemon pepper mayonnaise.
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- No oil thermometer? Test if oil is hot enough by dropping one piece of floured calamari in the hot oil and if it bubbles vigorously and turns golden in 1 to ½ minutes it’s ready.
- Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and a dash of pepper to 1/2 cup mayonnaise for a simple dip or simply squeeze a splash of fresh lemon juice over the squid before eating.