December 5, 2007
Sigh...I just had the best lunch. I even took a picture it was so tasty! I went to the grocers for a bit of seafood for a gumbo that I'm making, (I'll tell you about that later), and I noticed that they had an excellent deal on calamari. Suddenly the craving hit, especially after chatting with the fish guy and he was telling me his favorite way to eat calamari was fried, with just salt and lemon. How 'bout that! Mine too! It's so simple too. Let me tell you how I do it.
Just a few words in prelude.
1. I'm going to assume that you have cleaned, whole calamari. Many seafood shops will also include the tentacles as well. Personally, I think it's harder to find calamari that hasn't been cleaned, but I'm sure they're out there. I have seen several sites with squid-cleaning instructions online, fyi. However, if you need help let me know.
2.I'm going to assume you know how to fry. That being said, you have two choices. You can deep-fry, or you can pan-fry. Deep-frying is fool-proof and easier, the down-side being you use more oil. If you're confident in your frying abilities, you can pan-fry with excellent results, especially with a small batch. The only key is to make sure both sides are golden. I pan-fried my lunch today because I wanted to use extra-virgin olive oil for the taste and I didn't want expensive waste oil.
oil for frying
calamari, rinse calamari and cut the body into rings. Let excess water drain.
fresh lemon, cut into wedges
Place the calamari into the flour and mix until coated. Place them into a sieve and toss gently to remove excess flour.
Add to hot oil and cook for a few minutes until golden. This really doesn't take long, under 5 minutes for sure.
Sprinkle hot calamari with sea salt and serve with the lemon to be squeezed on as you like.
A few words in addendum:
I've seen recipes where people like to add herbs to the flour like basil, italian parsley or thyme, both fresh and dried. I've also seen thicker batters for the calamari that include egg and sometimes milk. I am a fan of the simple and straightforward for this dish and prefer to have the taste of the calamari shine unadulterated. You, however, can do what you want!