Fried Calamari

Apr 7th, 2009 | By | Category: Appetizer, Corn Flour, Flour, Frying, Greek, How To, Lent, Meze, Recipes, Seafood, Squid, Vegetarian

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.

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at  http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

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© 2009, Peter Minakis. All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at http://kalofagas.ca then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

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63 Comments to “Fried Calamari”

  1. Karen 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 :)

  2. Looks crispy and delicious! I used to hate calamari but have grown to enjoy it quite a bit (of course, frying makes it much easier to love).

  3. Aimee 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.

  4. Maria 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…

  5. My mouth is watering! These look out of this world! I love the tentacles best. I always feel cheated when I don’t get them!

  6. Janet says:

    Well now I am craving them! I like to clean them myself… and tease the kids with them if they start acting up ;-)

  7. Hooray a new culinary secret! And just the way you’ve described, a perfectly cooked calamari need not have a fancy aioli dipping sauce, just a simple touch of lemon!

  8. I’m the squid cleaner in my house. The end result is worth the effort — I’m partial to the rings, but my husband likes the tentacles, so we always have both.

  9. MrsMarv says:

    Thank you! I’m always so tempted by the squid at the Asian market down the street but I haven’t had a reason to dive in. Now I do!

  10. Kirby! says:

    It is no mystery that I love calimari!! I have never tried frying it myself though. Thanks for the pre-frying tips!

  11. Peter G 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!

  12. Heather says:

    i would cut off my left arm for some of that calamari. i love calamari more than anything. this looks so incredibly delicious!

  13. Lisa says:

    I love this and always order it out because I am a chicken when it comes to frying. I don’t like cleaning up the mess.

  14. mike 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Heidi Robb says:

    That calamari looks like deep fried perfection. I’ll have to arm wrestle you for the tentacles.

  17. Julie 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.

  18. Dragon says:

    I could eat the entire batch and then ask for seconds. :)

  19. For sure, the tentacles are the best part! Thanks for getting that out there. Hopefully, the message sticks. Although, we might have more competition for the tentacles now. ;)

  20. Rosa says:

    They looks mighty good! Yummy!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  21. FoodJunkie says:

    I never fry things at home, I feel it is such a waste of resources…but fried calamari is such a treat. Especially with ouzo…Can’t wait!

  22. Helen 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..

  23. Ivy says:

    I made these yesterday, fresh from laiki with roasted potatoes and a stamnagathi salad. They were perfect for lent.

  24. Yummy. My favourite finger food. :)

  25. Jan 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

  26. Emily says:

    Awww yeah, Peter. Looks fantastic! I think everyone can agree on that.

    Love your header. The eggplant is beautiful.

  27. ELENA 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:)

  28. Jeff says:

    I came here solely to throw my full support behind the joy and joyness that is everything squid.

    Nicely done!

  29. Soma 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.

  30. Katherine 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!

  31. kat says:

    OMG those are beautiful & the tentacles are my favorite part too

  32. Judy 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!

  33. Kiki 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!

  34. Ben says:

    For me fried calamari is one of the best appetizers, but I have never made it at home. Maybe for my next party :)

  35. Rosie says:

    Your calamari looks crispy and absolutely Delicious Peter.

  36. 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

  37. maryann says:

    I actually like cleaning them. I know. Weird. And the tentacles are the best part. You are right about that, Peter :)

  38. Joan Nova 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!

  39. Hélène says:

    This is one dish that I enjoy in restaurants but don’t make at home. It’s so delicious.

  40. Melissa 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.

  41. Nicole says:

    Oh I do love good calamari! Especially dipped in a cool lemon aioli. But any way your fry it, it is delish!

  42. Leslie Green says:

    Another yummy dish Peter
    Love,
    Pixie!!

  43. Haley W. says:

    You are so right. I love the little legs! I adore these with a spicy tomato dipping sauce, but even plain they are still just amazing.

  44. elly says:

    Mmmm. Looks perfectly golden and delicious!

  45. Looks simple and easy enough…I love it!

    also, I’m loving the new digs. Everyone’s making moves!

  46. RobinSue says:

    Hands down my favorite appetizer when I go out to good restaurants! Yours looks perfect!

  47. Pam says:

    This is one of my very favorite foods but I have never attempted to make it at home – thanks for the inspiration Peter.

  48. Sam says:

    Oh wow that looks good! I would love to try this myself.

  49. I love calamari. I’ve made it grilled and stuffed at home but never fried. that will be my next project.

  50. Jamie 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!

  51. Kevin says:

    That fried calamari looks great!

    Happy Easter!

  52. Cheryl 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!

  53. fried calamari… yes….
    that photo is plain sexy

  54. Olga says:

    I absolutely LOVE fried calamari. Whenever they are on the menu, I always get them :)

    Looks great!

  55. Jude says:

    So simple, but nicely made fried calamari is wonderful stuff.

  56. 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!!!

  57. gina says:

    I love fried calamari!

  58. [...] didn’t always eat calamari (squid) but the deep-fried variety is what converted me. However, grilled squid (or calamari) is what cemented my love for this cheap, easy and delicious [...]

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  60. spero says:

    calamari in greece is the most popular appetizer and is the number one appetizer in Italian restaurants outside Italy.

  61. 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!

  62. 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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