This crispy dish makes for a lovely appetizer!
Calamari translates to “squid” in Italian. When the word is heard in the United States it is associated with a dish of battered and deep fried squid rings and tentacles. The American calamari dish is typically served with a sauce, and is usually served as an appetizer. The first written article about the deep fried appetizer was published in 1975 by The New York Times. It became popular and trendy in the 1980s and the 1990s. It is still a favored restaurant appetizer, though it is no longer “trendy”.
I first heard of calamari when I was in the first grade. My teacher had told the class the story about when she went to an Italian restaurant with her family. She was presented with a plate of fried food. She thought it was like fried mozzarella and ate it happily. When she was done she complimented the dish and asked the server what kind of cheese it was because it did not taste like mozzarella. The server informed her that the dish was not fried cheese, but fried squid. She was initially surprised and put off by this information, because she did not think she liked squid. Her family reminded her about how she had loved the dish before she knew its contents. She realized the dish had tasted good, and she was letting her judgement of squid affect her. The lesson that she wanted us to learn was that we cannot have an opinion on something that we had never tried before. It was a lesson that I kept with me, especially because I was a very picky eater as a child.
Of course after hearing the story I tried calamari and loved it. Now, I get it a lot when I go out to bars and restaurants. There is something very satisfying about dunking the crisp calamari into a delightful sauce and washing everything down with a glass a beer. I wanted to create this restaurant favorite at home after I found some great squid at a local market. Please enjoy this recipe! I hope you like it!
Easy Fried Calamari Recipe
Yields 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 8 minutes
Beer Pairing Suggestion: Lager
Wine Pairing Suggestion: Pinot Grigio or Cabernet Sauvignon
12 ounces squid rings
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
To Serve: Marinara sauce, lemon wedges
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, corn starch, parsley, salt, black pepper.
Toss the squid rings into the flour mixture until they are all evenly coated.
Get a pot or sauce pan and add enough oil to have 2 inches of depth. Heat the pot to medium heat, the oil should be about 350 F.
Make sure to work in batches and do not over crowd the pot.
Drop the squid rings into the hot oil and fry until golden, about 4 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the calamari onto paper towels to drain.
Serve hot with marinara sauce and lemon wedges.
Calamari has such a mild flavor feel free to dip it into all kinds of sauces: sour cream, ranch, aioli, mayonnaise, spicy marinara!
Fresh or frozen squid work great in this dish, just make sure the frozen squid is properly defrosted before frying.
DID YOU MAKE THIS DISH?
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