Cooking squid tentacles – better known as calamari -- is a matter of timing. Done correctly, fried squid tentacles are crisp and have a delicate sweetness. Overcook them and the result is like chewing rubber. The best way to keep fried squid tentacles from drying out is to coat them in flour to help seal in moisture. Deep-frying them quickly in hot oil helps ensure that they cook through before they have a chance to dry out.
Rinse the squid tentacles under cool water and blot them mostly dry.
Fill a deep skillet half-full of peanut oil. Hang a deep-fry thermometer into the oil and heat it to 390 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour an inch or so of flour into a shallow dish.
Season the flour with salt, lemon pepper and cayenne pepper to taste. Mix the flour and seasonings.
Dredge the damp squid tentacles in the seasoned flour and place them carefully into the oil.
Fry the tentacles for two minutes, or until they are golden and crisp.
Pluck the tentacles out with tongs and set them on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Set each batch of squid tentacles on a baking sheet in a warm oven to keep them crisp while you cook the remaining ones.
Never overcook squid tentacles.