How to Cook Perfect Calamari
Done right, fried squid, or calamari, is tender and sweet with just the right amount of crunch. If you don’t know how to cook it, your calamari rings can end up tasting like batter-coated rubber bands. Our chefs have labored to perfect the art of making calamari so that theirs is never tough or chewy. That is why their calamari is one of the most popular items on our restaurant’s menu.
Today, our chefs are sharing their wisdom with you! Here are their tips on how to make the perfect calamari:
Shopping Tips for Calamari:
2 pounds of squid will serve 4 people as an appetizer and 2 people as an entrée.
Pick out fresh or frozen squid that has already been cleaned and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds that are cut in 1-inch segments (if it is available).
A simple way to prevent your calamari from having a chewy texture is to soak it in buttermilk for an hour before frying it. This will tenderize it. You may also notice that your batter turns browner and taste slightly sweeter after soaking the squid in buttermilk.
Cooking Tips – Don’t Over Cook It or Crowd It:
Even after tenderizing the squid, you still have to be cautious about overcooking it. Each ring only needs to cook in oil for about 1 minute.
Make sure that you don’t put too many pieces in the pan at once. If you do, it will steam instead of fry because calamari pieces release water as they are cooked. To make sure your calamari are crisp, fry smaller batches together at the same time with space between each piece of squid in the pan.
We recommend starting with this simple recipe from Nick Kindelsperger on Serious Eats.
2 pounds of cleaned, squid (sliced into 1/8-inch rounds with tentacles cut into 1-inch segments)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 quarts vegetable oil
1. Place squid in a medium-size bowl. Pour the buttermilk over and mix well. Let rest for 1 hour.
2. Set aside a baking sheet with a wire rack to place fried calamari on.
3. Heat oil in medium sized pan over medium high. Preheat the over to 250°F to keep fried calamari warm during the drying process.
2. Mix flour and ground pepper together in a large baking dish or large Ziplock bag.
3. Toss squid in flour mixture. Then place on a wire mesh strainer and shake to remove excess flour.
4. Fry each piece of squid in the pan for 1 minute at most. Transfer to a paper towel-lined bowl and lightly season with salt immediately. Then move to the wire rack on the baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest. (If you are using a thermometer, the oil should be kept at 360°F between batches.)
Serve immediately with lemon wedges and tomato sauce or ketchup.
If you’re planning to make calamari tonight, stop by our seafood counter at City Fish Market! If you’re in the mood for calamari but you aren’t ready to test this recipe out, swing by our restaurant to try our famous calamari!
Let us know if these tips helped you in the comments!