Visit a seafood restaurant with your family and you’re very likely to discover fried calamari as an appetizer or entrée option. Fried calamari is actually fried squid. Crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside, calamari is rich in protein and makes a flavorful addition to almost any meal. You don’t have to pay seafood-restaurant prices to enjoy a plateful of fried calamari. You can purchase fresh squid and batter and fry calamari for your family at home using a deep fryer or a frying pan.
Preparing the Squid
Wash your hands.
Lay the fresh squid flat on a cutting board. Slice off the squid’s tentacles by cutting underneath the squid’s eyes and above its tentacles. Discard the tentacles.
Hold the squid steady with one hand. With the other hand, grasp the squid's head around its beak and pull firmly and steadily. The squid’s head will come off with its entrails attached. Discard the head and entrails.
Hold the squid carefully over the garbage can. Squeeze as much gel as you can from the squid’s body.
Rinse the squid’s body in the sink until the squid's body sac is completely hollow. Pat it dry.
Slice the body sac into ½-inch rings.
Preparing the Batter
Wash your hands.
Add cornmeal, cornstarch, water, buttermilk, salt and oil to a large bowl.
Mix the batter well with a spoon until it is well blended.
Fill the fryer with cooking oil. Vegetable oil, canola oil or peanut oil all work equally well for frying calamari.
Heat the oil in the fryer until the temperature reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dip each calamari ring into the batter. Place the battered calamari ring into a slotted spoon.
Lower the slotted spoon containing the freshly battered calamari ring into the oil. Add five to six calamari rings for a small fryer and eight to 10 calamari rings for a large fryer.
Fry the calamari for 45 to 60 seconds or until each piece appears golden brown.
Remove the calamari from the fryer with the slotted spoon. Place the calamari on a paper towel. This soaks up the excess grease.
Pour cooking oil into your frying pan until the oil in the pan is approximately 1/3-inch deep.
Place the frying pan on the stove top. Heat the oil in the frying pan over high heat until it begins to pop.
Pick up a calamari ring with the tongs. Dip the calamari ring into the batter until it is completely saturated.
Place each calamari ring into the frying pan as you batter it. Like deep frying, the number of calamari rings you can comfortably cook in a frying pan at one time depends on the size of your frying pan. Larger frying pans can accommodate more calamari rings.
Fry the calamari rings in a single layer for one minute.
Flip each calamari ring over with the tongs. Fry the calamari rings for another 60 seconds.
Remove the calamari rings from the frying pan with the tongs. Place them on a paper towel to soak up the grease.
Heating time for frying-pan oil will vary depending on your stove.
Serve the calamari rings with a dipping sauce.
Slice your squid into strips rather than rings.
Stand back from your deep fryer or frying pan when frying calamari. The hot oil pops and can burn you. Ask small children to leave the kitchen when frying any food in hot oil.
Don’t overload your fryer. The more pieces of calamari you place into the fryer, the longer each piece takes to properly cook. Overloading your fryer could leave you with undercooked calamari.
Do not fry your calamari for too long. Properly fried calamari should have a slightly chewy texture. If you fry the calamari too long it will have a tough consistency -- making it difficult to chew.
Although squid does not have a shell, it can trigger a reaction in individuals with a shellfish allergies. Always ask your guests if they are allergic to shellfish before serving fried calamari.