How to Cook Crispy Fried Calamari: A Step-by-Step Guide

Crispy fried calamari is a classic dish that’s enjoyed all over the world. While it may seem daunting to cook at home, with the right ingredients and techniques, you can create restaurant-quality calamari in your own kitchen. In this article, we’ll take you through the steps to cook delicious and crispy fried calamari that’s sure to impress your friends and family.

Understanding the ingredients is key to making great calamari. The key ingredient, of course, is the squid. It’s important to choose fresh squid that’s been cleaned and prepared properly. You’ll also need flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, and milk. The type of oil you use is also important – we recommend using a neutral oil with a high smoke point, such as vegetable or canola oil.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the ingredients is key to making great calamari.
  • Choosing the right oil is important for achieving crispy fried calamari.
  • Properly preparing the calamari and using the right frying technique will help you achieve restaurant-quality calamari.
Fried Calamari

Piero’s Recipe from the video:

  • Calamari / Squid
  • Lemon
  • Plain Flour
  • Corn Flour
  • Oil
  • Sparkling very cold water
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Understanding the Ingredients

When it comes to cooking crispy fried calamari, it is essential to understand the ingredients that go into making this delicious dish. Here’s a brief overview of the key ingredients:

Calamari/Squid: Calamari is the main ingredient in this dish. It is a type of squid that has a mild, sweet flavor and a firm texture, making it perfect for frying.

Salt and Pepper: Salt and pepper are used to season the calamari before frying. It is important to season the calamari well to enhance its flavor.

Flour: Flour is used to coat the calamari before frying. It helps to create a crispy outer layer and prevents the calamari from becoming too greasy.

Milk/Buttermilk: Milk or buttermilk is used to tenderize the calamari before frying. It helps to break down the proteins in the calamari and make it more tender.

Olive Oil: Olive oil is used for frying the calamari. It has a high smoke point and a mild flavor that complements the calamari well.

Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is added to the calamari before frying to add flavor and tenderize the calamari.

Parsley: Parsley is a popular herb that is often used to garnish fried calamari. It adds a fresh, bright flavor to the dish.

Cayenne Pepper/Paprika/Sea Salt: These spices are used to add flavor to the flour coating. They can be adjusted to taste depending on your preference.

Bacon/Onion/Potatoes/Herbs: These ingredients can be added to the dish to create a more complex flavor profile. Bacon can add a smoky flavor, while potatoes and onions can add texture and depth. Herbs like thyme and rosemary can add a fragrant aroma to the dish.

Overall, understanding the ingredients is crucial to making the perfect batch of crispy fried calamari. By using the right ingredients and techniques, you can create a dish that is sure to impress your guests.

Choosing the Right Oil

When it comes to cooking crispy fried calamari, choosing the right oil is crucial. The oil you use can affect the texture, flavor, and overall quality of your dish. Here are some things to consider when selecting the best oil for frying calamari:

Smoke Point

The smoke point of an oil is the temperature at which it starts to smoke and break down. When oil reaches its smoke point, it can produce harmful compounds and give your food an unpleasant taste. For deep frying, we recommend using oils with high smoke points, such as canola oil, peanut oil, or vegetable oil. These oils can handle high temperatures without smoking or burning.

Neutral Flavor

When frying calamari, you want the flavor of the squid to shine through. That’s why we recommend using oils with a neutral flavor, such as canola oil or vegetable oil. These oils won’t overpower the taste of the calamari or leave a greasy aftertaste.

Deep Frying

Deep frying is the best method for achieving crispy, golden-brown calamari. To deep fry calamari, you’ll need a pot or deep fryer filled with enough oil to submerge the squid. We recommend using a thermometer to monitor the temperature of the oil and keep it between 350-375°F.

Cooking Oil

When selecting a cooking oil for frying calamari, it’s important to choose an oil that is high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. These types of fats are healthier than saturated fats and can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Canola oil is a great option, as it is low in saturated fat and high in healthy fats.

In summary, for crispy fried calamari, we recommend using an oil with a high smoke point, neutral flavor, and high in monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. Canola oil is a great choice for deep frying calamari, as it meets all of these criteria.

Preparing the Calamari

When it comes to cooking crispy fried calamari, the first step is to prepare the squid. Start by cleaning the calamari tubes and slicing them into ¾-inch thick rings.

Next, we recommend soaking the calamari rings in a mixture of salted milk for 30 minutes before cooking. This helps to tenderize the squid and remove any excess fishy taste.

Once the calamari rings have soaked in the milk mixture, it’s time to coat them in a flour mixture. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, black pepper, and any other desired spices or seasoning. This creates a flavorful breading for the calamari.

To coat the calamari rings, place them in the flour mixture and toss until they are evenly coated. Shake off any excess flour before frying.

The Frying Process

When it comes to cooking crispy fried calamari, the frying process is crucial for achieving that perfect golden crunch. Here’s how we do it:

  1. Heat up oil: We typically use vegetable oil or canola oil for frying. Heat the oil in a deep pot or a frying pan to medium-high heat. We recommend using a thermometer to ensure the oil is at the right temperature (around 350°F).
  2. Prepare the calamari: Dredge the calamari in a mixture of flour and cornmeal, seasoned with salt and pepper. Shake off any excess flour mixture before frying.
  3. Fry the calamari: Carefully add the calamari to the hot oil in small batches to avoid overcrowding. Overcrowding can cause the calamari to steam instead of fry, resulting in a soggy texture. Use a slotted spoon or spider strainer to turn the calamari occasionally to ensure even cooking. Fry until golden brown, which should take about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Drain and serve: Use the slotted spoon or spider strainer to remove the calamari from the oil and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauce.

If you prefer pan frying or searing your calamari, the process is similar. Heat up a small amount of oil in a frying pan to medium-high heat and cook the calamari in small batches until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate before serving.

Remember, the key to achieving perfectly crispy fried calamari is to maintain the right temperature of the oil and avoid overcrowding the pan. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to impress your family and friends with your delicious calamari dish.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving fried calamari, there are a variety of options to choose from. Whether you’re serving it as an appetizer or as a main dish, there are plenty of ways to make this dish stand out. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Dipping sauces: One of the most popular ways to serve fried calamari is with dipping sauces. Some classic options include marinara sauce, tartar sauce, aioli, or lemon wedges. We recommend having a few different sauces on hand to give your guests plenty of options.
  • Lemon and parsley: For a simple yet elegant presentation, try serving your fried calamari with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh parsley. This is a great way to add some brightness and freshness to the dish.
  • Potatoes and bacon: If you’re serving fried calamari as a main dish, consider pairing it with some hearty sides like roasted potatoes and crispy bacon. This will help balance out the richness of the calamari and make for a satisfying meal.
  • Soup: Another unique way to serve fried calamari is in a soup. Try adding some crispy calamari rings to a bowl of tomato soup or chowder for a fun twist on a classic dish.

No matter how you choose to serve your fried calamari, be sure to keep it crispy and hot. This dish is best enjoyed right out of the fryer, so be sure to serve it as soon as it’s ready. With these serving suggestions, you’re sure to impress your guests and make your fried calamari stand out.

Storing and Reheating

When it comes to storing and reheating leftover fried calamari, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that the dish remains crispy and delicious.

Storing

If you have leftover fried calamari, it’s important to store it properly to prevent it from becoming soggy or losing its crispy texture. Here are some tips for storing leftover fried calamari:

  • Store it in an airtight container: This will help prevent moisture from getting in and making the calamari soggy.
  • Keep it in the fridge: Fried calamari can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Don’t stack the calamari: Stacking the calamari can cause it to become squished and lose its shape.

Reheating

When it comes to reheating fried calamari, there are several methods you can use, including the oven, toaster oven, and air fryer. Here are some tips for reheating leftover fried calamari:

  • Oven: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the leftover calamari onto a baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Bake for 5-7 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Toaster oven: Preheat your toaster oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the leftover calamari onto a baking sheet, evenly spaced apart. Bake for 5-7 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Air fryer: Preheat your air fryer to 370 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the leftover calamari into the air fryer basket, making sure they are not overcrowded. Cook for 5-7 minutes, shaking the basket halfway through.

It’s important to note that while it is possible to reheat fried calamari, it may not be as crispy as when it was first cooked. However, using the methods above can help retain some of the crispiness.

Nutritional Information

When it comes to fried calamari, it’s important to be mindful of the nutritional information. While calamari is a good source of protein, it can also be high in calories and fat depending on how it’s prepared. Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional information for crispy fried calamari:

  • One piece of fried calamari contains approximately 12 calories, 0.21g of fat, and 21mg of cholesterol.
  • A serving of fried calamari (about 10 pieces) can have up to 200 calories and 10g of fat.
  • If you’re looking for a lower calorie option, consider baking or grilling your calamari instead of frying it.

It’s also important to consider the ingredients used in the recipe. For example, using whole milk or buttermilk in the batter can add additional calories and fat. If you’re looking to cut back on calories, consider using a lighter milk or even water instead.

When it comes to cooking oil, using a healthier option like olive oil or avocado oil can be a better choice than traditional frying oils like vegetable or canola oil. And while bacon may add flavor to a soup or appetizer, it can also add unnecessary calories and fat.

Overall, while crispy fried calamari can be a delicious appetizer or main dish, it’s important to be mindful of the nutritional information and ingredients used in the recipe. By making small adjustments, you can still enjoy this tasty dish while maintaining a balanced diet.

Additional Tips and Tricks

When it comes to cooking crispy fried calamari, there are a few additional tips and tricks that can help you achieve the perfect dish. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Use cornstarch: Cornstarch is a great alternative to flour when it comes to coating your calamari. It creates a lighter, crispier texture that is perfect for fried seafood.
  • Pat dry with paper towels: Before coating your calamari, be sure to pat it dry with paper towels. This will help remove any excess moisture and ensure that your coating sticks properly.
  • Don’t overcrowd the pan: When frying your calamari, be sure not to overcrowd the pan. This can cause the temperature of the oil to drop, resulting in soggy calamari. Instead, fry in small batches to ensure that each piece gets crispy and golden brown.
  • Serve immediately: Crispy fried calamari is best served immediately. If you let it sit for too long, it can become soggy. Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite dipping sauce for the perfect appetizer or main course.
  • Experiment with different coatings: While a simple flour or cornstarch coating is classic, don’t be afraid to experiment with different coatings. Try adding spices like cayenne pepper or paprika to your coating mixture for an extra kick of flavor.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to cooking the perfect batch of crispy fried calamari.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best oil to use when frying seafood?

We recommend using oils with high smoke points, such as vegetable, canola, or peanut oil. These oils can withstand high temperatures without burning or smoking, which can affect the taste and texture of your fried calamari.

How can I prevent my calamari from becoming tough?

To prevent your calamari from becoming tough, avoid overcooking it. Calamari cooks quickly, so be sure to keep an eye on it while it’s frying. Also, make sure your oil is hot enough before adding the calamari. If the oil is not hot enough, the calamari will absorb more oil and become soggy.

What is the secret to making crispy fried calamari?

The secret to making crispy fried calamari is to use a light batter and to fry it at a high temperature. A light batter will allow the calamari to cook quickly and evenly, while a high temperature will create a crispy exterior.

What is the best way to cook calamari rings from frozen?

The best way to cook calamari rings from frozen is to thaw them first. Thawing them in the refrigerator overnight is the best method. Once thawed, pat them dry with paper towels before frying.

What are some tips for creating a light batter for calamari?

To create a light batter for calamari, use a mixture of flour, cornstarch, and baking powder. The baking powder will help the batter to become light and crispy. You can also add spices such as paprika or garlic powder to add flavor to the batter.

What are some variations on traditional Italian fried calamari recipes?

Some variations on traditional Italian fried calamari recipes include adding different spices or herbs to the batter, such as cumin or oregano. You can also try using different types of flours, such as rice flour or chickpea flour, to create a unique texture and flavor. Another variation is to serve the calamari with different dipping sauces, such as aioli or marinara sauce.

Do you have other Fish Dishes recipe Videos?

Yes! we do, here is a list:
How to make Fish Cake with Cod and Prawns
How To Prepare Octopus For Cooking | Octopus Ragu Pasta

Do you have any other videos? Yes here are our latest ones:

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Cooking With An Italian

Ciao I am Piero coming all the way from Puglia Italy. I created this site to bring my love of food to all, hope you enjoy.