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Author Notes: I love squid and a simple fried calamari with a pepper sauce is a favorite of mine. I am often disappointed when I order it in restaurants so I am content with my own recipe from time to time, changing the seasonings adding a little of this and that from the spice cabinet.
I have access to fresh squid most of the time, but I am not opposed to using frozen cleaned squid when the fishermen buy up what fresh there is for fish bait. Keep in mind while the box says 2 pounds, there are a ton of tentacles about 1/2 lb. in the last package.
Not saying that this is my best squid recipe or most elaborate, but it is what I crave for a quick dinner served with a big salad and good wine.
Calamari Fritti for dinner tonight so maybe I can get a finished dish photo before we eat it all.
Serves 2 for dinner
- 2 whole pepperoncini peppers, seeded and fine diced
- 1 cup rinsed, dried and finely diced mild pepper rings
- 2 whole sweet cherry peppers, seeded, and finely diced
- Additional sliced pepper rings of each for garnish
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons EVOO
- 2 teaspoons White balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sweet chili sauce or more to balance out the vinegar taste
- Optional Agave syrup to sweeten, a little at a time until you have what you like
- Black pepper to taste
Calamari and dredging ingredients
- pound Calamari, cleaned and sliced into rings
- 2 cups Buttermilk for soaking, real buttermilk
- 1 cup AP flour
- 1/2 cup semolina flour, I tend to use more
- 1/8th teaspoon ground red pepper flakes
- 1/8th teaspoon black or white pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I omit when adding the seafood seasoning)
- Optional a good pinch of Phillips seafood seasoning or Old Bay
- Good pinch of paprika
- A little finely grated lemon zest
- Optional marinara, or aioli sauce of your choice
- Olive oil/vegetable oil for frying
- Mix all the pepper sauce ingredients and taste, make ahead but bring to room temperature or heat slightly before adding to the fried calamari.
- Clean calamari and slice into rings about 1/4 inch thick or bite size pieces if you prefer, soak in buttermilk for about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Blend the dredging ingredients. Heat oil in deep fryer or cast iron pan. Lift calamari rings from the buttermilk and allow to drip before placing into flour, shake off excess flour and fry 2-3 minutes or until golden. Don't crowd the calamari, fry in batches, drain on paper towels, place into a serving dish and spoon the room temperature or slightly heated pepper sauce over fried calamari. Serve with lemon wedges and a marinara or aioli of your choice.
- Remember that the pepper sauce has vinegar so go lightly with that squeeze of lemon.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Squid or Octopus Recipe