Information and Education Coordinator, Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF)
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Sure to make a calamari lover out of anyone who tries it, this recipe comes from Vincent Manfredi, a fisheries biologist with the Resource Assessment Project for MarineFisheries. This dish works wells as a hors d’oeuvre or can be used as the main course. Can be prepared with any seafood, not just calamari!
1 pound squid tubes (and crowns if you’re a tentacle lover)
Canola oil, roughly 10 times the volume for the intended volume of squid (can be substituted with half and half canola and olive oil)
1 ½ cups milk
2 heaping cups flour
1 ½ tablespoon baking powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Herbs and spices to desired taste
Clean squid, separating tentacle crowns. If using crowns, ensure they are small (tentacle crowns should be able to fit in a tablespoon).
Slice squid tubes into thin rings, roughly ¼ inch or slightly less if tubes are thick (over an eighth of an inch thick). Divide tentacle crowns if large to avoid spatter and excessive grease retention.
Place prepared raw squid on a single layer of paper towel. Do not over dry. Refrigerate if needed.
Warm oil in extra large pot on medium high heat, do not overheat (smoke will start to rise). This will taint the flavor.
In a large bowl, combine eggs and milk. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.
In a second large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and any other additional seasonings. Mix thoroughly.
Dredge squid rings and tentacle crowns in flour mixture, making sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Place on baking sheet.
In batches, add rings and tentacles to the egg/milk mixture. Then, dredge in flour again, shaking excess off, and replace on baking sheet. Doing this in batches ensures a good, even coating on each piece.
Ready a large plate lined with at least a double layer of paper towels to drain oil after frying.
Test oil heat with one ring. If hot enough, the ring should ‘float’ in the oil. If the oil is not hot enough, the ring will sink without any vigorous bubbling.
After oil is tested and hot enough, add batch of prepared squid. Do not over-top the pot as this can cause splattering and possibly a fire. Add rings and tentacle crowns one at a time in quick succession to avoid splatter and pieces sticking together.
Remove fried calamari with a basket spoon as they turn light golden brown and steam is released. Drain on paper toweled plate. Lightly salt to taste after drained.
Enjoy while still warm!