Fried Calamari

img_1494One of my first and favourite seafood dishes that I enjoyed in my earlier vacations to Greece is calamari. In particular, fried calamari.

Let’s get something off our shoulders…calamari are squid. Squid belong to the cephalapod family, which include octopus and cuttlefish. If you’re squeamish about cleaning squid, be kind and ask your fishmonger to do this for you. Barring that, you’re stuck with buying the frozen calamari rings.

Not that there’s anything wrong with calamari rings or frozen squid for that matter, as most of the calamari that we eat at our tables or in restaurants is or was at some point, frozen. However, go for the full monty.

Whenever I’m dining out and I have a craving for fried calamari, I feel cheated when the plate is full of just the rings.The tentacles are the best part of the calamari. Oh sure, the rings are delish but the tentacles? Divine.

What happened to the tentacles? Did the cook snip away and toss them? Did he/she save these crispy morsels for themselves or were they just plain lazy and bought a package of frozen or dare I say…pre-breaded and frozen calamari rings that simply got thrown in the deep fryer?

Frozen calamari is a perfectly good product and anyone of authority in Greece that I have spoken with asserts that freezing calamari (squid) can act as a tenderizer.

Another assurance of tender, succulent calamari is to not over fry the darn thing. I highly recommend a candy/oil thermometer which will give you an accurate read of the oil’s temperature before frying. The ideal temperature for frying seafood (calamari) or French fries is anywhere from 360-375F.

I’ve cooked with calamari on several occaisions and beyond cleaning them, they are a cinch to cook.img_1492

As per my post on fried calamari last year, many of the seafood tavernas in Greece will employ a circus-type of frying method for calamari. That is to say they dredge the squid in seasoned flour and then give them a quick dunk in ice-cold water and the squid get dropped into the waiting hot oil.

I know what you’re thinking…oil and water aren’t a happy pair and it’s true but this method works (albeit with some splatting) but the result is a delicious, crisp batter enveloping the tender cooked squid.

After some experimentation and borrowing from Asian cuisine, I’ve discovered that I can recreate this crisp, fried effect without worrying about hot oil dancing around the kitchen as it hits some water.

The solution? My same old mixture of corn flour and all-purpose flour mixed with some corn starch. That’s it – corn starch! I will never worry about spitting oil hitting me whilst frying up some seafood or in this case, calamari. So, now you have fried calamari, two ways…take your pic.

Again, cleaning squid is very easy, albeit a little stinky so if you’re a woman – call on the fishmonger or the man of the house do pony-up and clean some squid!

Deep-fried Calamariimg_1495

1 lb. of squid (thawed if frozen and cleaned)

1/3 cup corn flour

1 cup all purpose flour

2 Tbsp. of corn starch

salt and pepper to taste

vegetable oil for frying (I use sunflower oil)

lemon wedges for garnish

  1. Thaw, clean & rinse your calamari. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. In a bowl, add your flour, corn flour, corn starch, salt, pepper and mix well. Have a quick taste of the flour mixture to assure yourself of proper seasoning.
  3. Dredge your calamari in the flour mixture and shake off excess flour. Let stand while you pre-heat your oil for frying. You should fry your calamari in about three inches of oil.
  4. As soon as your oil hits a temperature between 360-375F, you’re ready.
  5. Fry your calamari for 3-4 minutes per batch (1 lb. of calamari usually takes two batches). Season with sea salt.
  6. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

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© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

© 2009,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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63 Comments for “Fried Calamari”

says:

These look delicious – so brown and crispy. The few times I’ve had calamari they have been tough, rubbery and obviously cooked by some fancy pants who didn’t know what he was doing, so I’ll have to keep trying :)

says:

I’m not afraid of cleaning squid! It’s kind of challenging to do it with out tearing them.

These look amazing, nice job, Peter.

says:

This looks so delicious, I love calamari. Thanks for the recipe, the last time I made calamari I was not thrilled with my breading/batter. I bought my squid at a Whole Foods market down in the Detroit area of Michigan. If only squid lived in the fresh waters of the Great Lakes of Michigan…

says:

Funnily enough I’ve always had a thing for the tentacles too! (let’s cal it tentacle envy!…LOL). The corn starch is a great addition and is typically found in the salt and peeper versions…Im glad you adapted that idea Peter. They look really, really crispy! Bravo!

says:

Very nice! I love good fried calamari but I’m often disappointed with it when I get it in restaurants – not sure if it is poor quality squid, poor execution, or (most likely) both.

We’ve tried to fry calamari at home, but have had trouble getting them crispy. Your advice on that front is very helpful.

Bridgett

says:

Heaven! I am always up for a quality plate of calamari to nibble on. Perfect for cocktail hour! Oh who am I kidding, I would eat these anytime.

says:

This is one of my son’s favorite foods and I keep telling myself that I’m going to make them for him one of these days. But I have that fear of frying thing going on — mostly about the resulting mess. However when I look at your picture, I’m very inspired.

says:

I agree, I am always totally gutted when I just get the rings and no tentacles – the sign of a rubbish restaurant! I must have a go at making this at home now I have got over my fear of frying..

says:

I LOVE calamari! Yours looks soooo good.
I’m afraid I’d have to chicken out at the water and oil bit! I’m dangerous enough in the kitchen LOL

says:

Perfect dish and not only for the lent!!
Peter, we have to enjoy this dish, when you come to the village, by the sea of course and with some ouzo:)

says:

My daughter is standing over my shoulder & drooling over these:-D it’s her favorite to thing to eat when we go eat out. looks fabulous.

says:

Oh Peter, where have you been…next to crabmeat ravioli, this is my favorite all time dish. I could just hug your neck!

P.S. Thank goodness for the sqeemish, cause I get the tentacles!

says:

This is my girl’s favorite meal! Remember when we went for lunch? That’s what the youngest ordered! Need to try making it myself!

says:

This is pretty much my number 1 choice for summertime, I luve luve luveee it!

And I was just about to make me some on Friday – found some squid rings (i prefer those, the ‘legs’ look weird :D) so i’ll post my version of this on http://bettyscuisine.blogspot.com/.

I’ll let u know how it goes!

says:

Many years ago I jugged for my own squid off the coast of Newfoundland (one morning of my life but I remember it well). This was well before I was even introduced to Greek cuisine. How delicious would this have been, and I would have the tenticles too:D

says:

Tentacles for me too. Actually I prefer it grilled over fried but yours look amazing…perfect color, dry, no grease. I think you found the winning technique. Great job!

says:

I can just taste the crisp in that picture. And I agree, I like the tentacles better! Even though I didn’t know what they were. I was just like “give me the not round pieces” haha.

says:

Fried calamari was one of my absolute favorite things to eat when we lived in Italy; in France it is much harder to find in any restaurant, so thanks for the fabulous recipe! They look outrageous!

says:

My favorite. I can never have too much calamari! I was given some fresh squid from a friend who has a fishing vessel…it was enormous!! I had to make calamari strips:)
I’ll have to try your suggestion and use cornstarch in my flour mixture.
BTW…your photos are fantastic and I want some now!

Anastasia

says:

I had calamarakia two days ago in Volos with tsipouro Tyrnavou!!! A great dish!!!
I love calamarakia!!! Pete you made my day again!!!

Theatsa

says:

Absolutely my favorite thing to eat during Lent!!! I try not to overdo the rest of the year, because I know that for at least 40 days it will be a staple! I recently had stuffed calamari at a small Italian bistro and it was a delicious change. But fried calamarakia (with lemon and garlic, including the tentacles) are the best!! Mmmmmmmmm!

Marie

says:

I haven’t had much luck frying calamari before. I’ll have to give it another shot soon with your great recipe and directions.

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