Few foods make me feel like I’m at a restaurant quite like fried calamari. After some trial and error, I’ve come up with a version that’ll be so budget-friendly, and delicious, that you too will be asking yourself #whyeatout?
Don’t let the name intimidate you–squid is typically cheap, and easy to work with. You can usually find squid tubes (the hollow part of the squid) or squid rings frozen in bulk at farmers markets. The former option is usually a better value since it’s usually cheaper, and you only need to defrost and slice them at home before you start cooking.
While you’re at the market, definitely pick up a bag of rice flour–it’s much finer than all-purpose flour, and it will make the crust on your calamari thinner, and crispier. You’ll also want to grab a few cans of grilled or roasted tomatoes for a restaurant-style salsa that will pair perfectly with your calamari.
Let’s get started. You’ll need:
1-2 lbs Squid caps / Squid Rings
1 Can Roasted or Grilled Tomatoes
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Medium Onion
1 Jalapeño (optional)
2 Limes, Juice and Zest
1/2 Cup Cilantro, Chopped
2 Eggs, Beaten
2 Cups Vegetable Oil
1 Cup Rice Flour
1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Cumin to Taste
- Slice the squid caps into half-inch rings, then season lightly with salt and pepper. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then sprinkle all purpose flour onto your squid rings, dredge them in the egg mixture, and transfer them to a fresh container of seasoned rice flour.
- Place two cups of vegetable oil in a pot on med-high heat, and allow the oil to get hot. Toss in your squid in small batches, fry until lightly golden–flip halfway. Remove from the oil, and allow the calamari to drain on paper towels on a heat resistant plate. Once the excess oil is removed, transfer the calamari to a lined baking sheet, and place in the oven to keep warm.
- On a fresh cutting board, roughly chop onion, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, and transfer to a blender or food processor. Pour in the canned tomatoes, lime juice, lime zest, and a table spoon of vegetable oil. Pulse until you reach your desired texture, then season with salt, pepper, paprika and cumin to taste.
- Plate and serve with extra cilantro.