Crispy Fried Calamari & Aïoli Recipe

Ingredients:

For the Calamari:

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen (thawed) squid, cleaned and cut into rings and tentacles
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Vegetable or canola oil for frying

For the Aïoli:

  • 1/2 cup good quality mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions:

Make the Aïoli:

  • Combine ingredients: In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper until smooth.
  • Chill: Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Prepare the Calamari:

  • Dry the squid: Pat the squid rings and tentacles very dry with paper towels. Excess moisture will prevent the coating from sticking.
  • Mix dry ingredients: In a shallow bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Egg dip: In a separate shallow bowl, beat the egg.

Fry the Calamari:

  • Heat oil: In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat about 1-inch of oil to 365°F (185°C). Use a thermometer for accuracy.
  • Coat the squid: Working in batches, dredge the squid pieces in the flour mixture, then dip in the egg, and coat again in the flour mixture.
  • Fry in batches: Carefully add the coated squid to the hot oil. Fry for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. Don’t overcrowd the pan.
  • Drain: Remove fried calamari with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with salt.

Serving:

  • Serve immediately with the chilled aïoli for dipping.
  • Garnish with fresh lemon wedges and chopped parsley if desired.

Tips:

  • Fresh vs. Frozen Squid: If using fresh squid, you’ll need to clean it. There are lots of tutorials online on how to do this.
  • Oil Temperature: Maintaining the oil temperature is crucial for crispy calamari. If it drops too low, your calamari will be soggy.
  • Spice it up: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the flour mixture for a little heat.
  • Variations: Try adding other herbs or spices to the aïoli, such as dill or smoked paprika.

Enjoy your crispy calamari!

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