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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fried Calamari

So last night's dinner was a fry fest. I don't do that very often, but if I'm going to drag out the oil and deep fry I guess I figure I might as well make a variety. So in addition to the "toasted" ravioli, I also made some fried calamari. I'd never made fried calamari before - actually, I'd never touched calamari in my kitchen at all before. But it's pretty straight forward... it's just not very appealing when it comes home from the market:

Yup, that's a tentacle there stuck along the side. Looks yucky like this, but I actually like eating the tentacles the best. They get nice and crunchy.

If you're not familiar with the pieces and parts that you get when you purchase cleaned calamari (no sense having to do all the work yourself!), here are the basics. You get body pieces and tentacle pieces. You can almost imagine this little guy swimming along...

The body is hollow; that's how you end up with round calamari rings. Slice across the body to make the rings. I cut them into about 1/4 inch diameter rings.

Uhhmmm... some of the tentacles are a little crazy long. I just cut them off to the same length as the rest of the tentacles.

Now it's just a matter of putting a coating on them and throwing them in the hot oil to fry. You want to try and keep the oil between 360 and 370 to get a nice golden product. I found that I needed to treat the rings and tentacles differently. I tried battering the tentacles, but I just ended up with big, obnoxious blobs. For the tentacles, I just mixed a little flour and salt and then tossed the tentacles in the flour to coat. This way, when they're tossed in the oil, the individual tentacles spread out and you end up with nice crispy calamari.

For the rings, a batter was in order. I still dipped the rings in my salted flour to help the batter stick to the rings, but then I dipped them quickly into a thin batter (recipe below). They cook very quickly. I drained them on a paper towel and then served immediately with marinara sauce.

Calamari Batter

1 cup flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cup cold water

Mix together in a small bowl. You're looking for a fairly thin batter, but it is all personal preference. Adjust to your preference.

1 comment:

  1. Fried Calamari is a favorite in my house! They fry in less than three minutes... I usually don't batter them however I think I might try out yours, they look so good. Have you heard of this rule for tender squid, under three or over thirty? I have found it to be true.


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