Monday, July 18, 2016

Fried Calamari

The best fried calamari I ever had was in Barcelona at a restaurant by a manmade beach. It was particularly memorable because it was made with the tube portion and they were humongous. Like, 5" diameter huge.

These calamari were inspired by those Barcelona calamari. I purposely chose huge tubes to try and recreate the effect. To be frank, I missed the tentacles a little - the texture is different and enjoyable - but I liked the result nonetheless and the nostalgia was awesome.
Ingredients [serves 4]:
calamari
2 lbs. squid (tubes and/or tentacles)
¼ cup flour
¼ cup potato starch
¼ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne
oil for frying

dipping sauce
½ cup San Marzano tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon chopped oregano
1 teaspoon chopped basil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Start by making the dredging mixture. Combine potato starch, flour, cornmeal, salt, pepper, and cayenne.
Cut the squid into bite-sized pieces and dredge in the flour mixture.
Heat 2" to 3" of oil in a pan to 350F and fry the calamari until golden. It'll just take a minute or two; don't over cook the calamari or it will get tough and chewy.
Drain the calamari on a paper towel to wick away the excess moisture.
To make the dipping sauce, crush some tomatoes and stir in a little olive oil, some herbs, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Gently season with salt and pepper and that's the sauce, done.
Sure, you could heat up some marinara, but I love this fresh take on a sauce. It's bright and herbaceous and offers a nice light contrast to the fried calamari. It really cuts through the potential greasy feel of the squid.
Just before serving, squeeze a little lemon over the calamari. Make sure they're still screaming hot - that's when they're the crispest and most delicious - and serve the sauce with a spoon because you'll want to scoop generous spoonfuls onto the calamari.
The squid is tender with a crisp exterior and like I said, the sauce is a nice and bright accompaniment. Even though fried calamari is typically an appetizer, we actually enjoyed it as the star protein of a spaghetti dinner.
Here's the recipe page:

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