In the realm of comfort foods, fried calamari stands out, evoking that intense nostalgia of being cozied up in your favorite restaurant’s booth. For many, a plate brimming with crispy fried calamari rings and tentacles, accompanied by the classic companions of buffalo wings and cheese sticks, hits the mark. No? Just me then?
The magic of our recipe lies in its breading technique. A trifecta of all-purpose flour, semolina flour, and cornmeal, it promises the crunchiest, most flavor-packed bites every single time.
While debates might rage on about which is superior – the rings or the tentacles – in our home, the crisp tentacles are the coveted prize. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, rest assured, this method guarantees some of the crunchiest and tastiest calamari creations you’ll ever relish!
- 1 1/2 pounds tender baby squid (680g; segregate the hoods as rings and keep tentacles apart)
- Ample vegetable oil (5-6 cups for frying; and an additional 2 tablespoons)
- 1/2 cup versatile all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 1/3 cup straightforward cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon of the iconic Old Bay seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Black pepper (season as per your liking)
- Begin with your squid: cleanse under cold water. Effortlessly snip off the tentacles, ensuring about 1/4 inch of the hood remains, binding the tentacles. If handling larger squid, halve these portions for bite-sized allure. Uniformity in size aids in evenly cooking the calamari.
- In a medium-depth pot, pour oil until it spans 4 inches from the base. Warm the oil to a moderate 325 degrees F.
- As the oil warms up, it’s time to concoct your breading. Combine all-purpose flour, semolina, cornmeal, Old Bay, salt, and pepper in a vessel. Set this mixture aside for the imminent dredging.
- With the oil prepped, immerse batches of calamari into your breading mixture after gently removing any moisture.
- Utilizing a long-handled strainer, lower the coated calamari into the sizzling oil, stirring them occasionally. Allow them to achieve a golden tint, which typically takes about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Extract the fried calamari and rest them on a paper-covered plate. Post frying, season further if desired. Continue this process until all pieces are beautifully fried.
- Plate with either marinara or tartar sauce, complemented by zesty lemon wedges. Revel in the accomplishment of replicating a restaurant classic, right in the heart of your home.
Fried calamari, when done right, not only satiates your taste buds but also offers a dose of health benefits. Squid is a good source of vitamin B12, which plays a pivotal role in maintaining nerve health. It also is rich in proteins and minerals, including selenium, which aids in boosting the immune system. So, while indulging, know that in moderation, this dish is a delightful blend of taste and health!