Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fried Calamari

Whenever we are at an Italian restaurant, fried calamari (a.k.a. squid) is an essential starter, which is usually devoured by my ravenous kids. I remember some time back watching an episode of Nigella Express where she whips up this dish. Like all TV cooking shows, eveything looks ridiculously easy, but this one IS actually as easy as it looks. I remembered something about semolina, but did not have online access to search her recipe, so I winged it as follows. It tasted great, even though I was missing a few of her additional ingredients. Most recipes use regular flour, but the semolina flour definitely gives it a great crunchy/crispiness. We used cocktail sauce that was in the fridge for dipping, but a garlic mayo, or even the sweet Thai chili sauce would be delicious!

(enough for a small shared starter)
1/2 lb (225g) cleaned squid, tubes and tentacles, slice the tubes into 1/2" (1cm) thick rings
1/2 cup (80g) semolina or almond flour
1 tsp sea salt
Sunflower seed oil 
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

  • In a ziploc bag, combine the flour of choice, salt and cut squid. Shake around to coat thoroughly.
  • In a small saucepan, pour in enough oil to fill about 3" (8cm) deep. Heat the oil for a few minutes, test with a single piece first to see if the oil is hot enough. It should sizzle rapidly.
  • In batches, deep-fry the squid for a few minutes until crisp and lightly golden. 
  • Strain and set onto paper towels to absorb excess oil. 
  • Serve with fresh lemon wedges and dipping sauce.
One note though, make sure to prepare this the day you buy the squid. You don't want to leave it in the fridge for a few days and then cook it, or a rather strong seafood smell will linger in your home for some time (as it did in ours). Alternatively, if you have a small hibachi (portable gas burner), then this is the time to do some outdoor cooking Jamie Oliver-stylie. 

I almost wonder if you could prepare and batter the squid the minute you get home and stick it in the freezer until ready to cook, must give that a try (someday).


  1. A sushi chef told me to wrap seafood with a thick paper towel (sushi chefs use special paper) to avoid the seafood smell...anything stored in a plastic bag does not help. If the paper towel gets soaked, then wrap it again with a new towel. I forgot all the scientific explanation (lol) but you just need to get rid of all the water that comes out to avoid the smell but at the same time, keep it wrapped so the seafood doesn't dry out.

  2. Thanks for the tip, Tomoyo! I still think I would rather cook it right away, rather than checking to see if my squid are cozy and dry. Haha ;-)

  3. Hahaha, I totally agree! :)


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