بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته
Fried calamari (squid) is an appetizer popular all over the Mediterranean. There is really something irresistible about these little rings and tentacles of deep-fried cephalopod, when prepared correctly. Perhaps it's the combination of tender-chewy meat and crispy, golden crust. I'm not sure. But I know, I definitely know I love calamari!
Calamari, comes from the Italian word for squid, calamaro. And calamari has a protein structure that differs from other seafood or meat. Similar to beef, it has a lot of connective tissue. Calamari attains tenderness through long cooking times and a moist-heat, low-temperature method, such as braising. Yet it also remains tender when cooked quickly at a high temperature, such as deep frying.
Fried calamari is also popular on the seaside towns of Beghaïa, Tipaza, Oran and Aïn Témouchent, where it is prepared using typical Algerian spices. And served with spicy sauces. Today, I share how I prepare mine at home. Plus, two super easy, almost effort dipping sauces, Rouille or Harissa dip (see below).
Some tips to get the very best and crispy calamari:
- Look for small squid. As with any animal, the smaller the animal, the more tender the meat.
- When using larger squid, marinate them in buttermilk for about an hour before frying.
- Cut the larger squid into rings no more then 2 ½cm - ½ inch wide.
- Fry your calamari in oil that is heated to 375°F - 190°C before dropping the calamari in.
- Fry the squid in small batches, starting with the tentacles and fins which will cook fastest.
- The squid rings should cook in just a few minutes. Place a few new pieces in the oil before you remove the previous ones, to keep the oil temperature stable. Then add the rest of your new batch once all the cooked pieces are out.
- If the oil temperature seems to be going too high lower the fire but not too much since if the temperature is too low the batter will go soggy and the oil will penetrate all the way through.
- Remove any stray bits of batter while they are golden and before they get too dark and burn. You can nibble on these as a cook's treat or save and serve with the calamari.
serves about 4 - 5 people
- 1lb - 500g of fresh whole squid, cleaned
- ½ cup - 120g chickpea flour
- ½ cup - 120g flour
- 1 cup well shaken lben (buttermilk)
- vegetable oil with little olive oil added, for swallow frying
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp Ras el hanout (click here)
- salt/ black pepper
- a lemon
- slice of (any type) bread
- one recipe Rouille dip (recipe below)
- one recipe Harissa drip (recipe below)
- This video will help you to properly clean your squid without any ink distasters.
- Once you've cleaned the squid, cut the triangular fins off, and cut the bodies into rings - no more then 2 ½cm - ½ inch wide . If the tentacles section is quite big cut it into two or three.
- Keep the tentacles and fins separate from the rings and place in two bowls. The reason for it is that the two parts have different cooking time.
- Now cover with the buttermilk and leave for about 1 hour - this helps to keep them tender.
- When you are ready to fry, dry off the squid on paper towels first.
- Prepare a plate by lining it with paper towels near the frying pot. Optionally use a mesh basket to allow the oil to drain even more.
- Heat up the frying pan.
- Then turn your oven on to the lowest setting.
- Prepare the batter while the oil is heating up b first, sifting the flour. Making surethere isn't any lumps.
- Place the flour in a bowl.
- Add in the seasonings.
- Drop a handful of the marinated calamari into the flour mixture.
- Toss to coat evenly. I usually use my hands. But you can use tongs if you prefer.
- Shake off all the excess flour before adding into the oil.
- Place a piece of bread in the frying pan - it will tell you when the oil is ready. The oil needs to be at quite a high temperature to cook the squid fast: slow cooking means over cooking, and that makes squid rubbery. Don't start to fry until the oil is hot enough and remember not to overcrowd the pan.
- If your oil is ready, add in the calamari one at a time.
- Lightly fry in the oil for about one minute, or until golden.
- Remove and place on a kitchen towel lined plate.
- Now place them in a baking sheet in the oven to keep warm.
- Then proceed to fry the rest of your calamari in batches. I usually have 5-6 batches.
- Transfer the calamari to your serving platter and wait a full minute for them to crisp up before salting. If you salt too early you risk softening the crisp coating.
I love calamri this way since you get to taste delicate taste of the squid - which is what this dish is all about.
Rouille is synonymous with bouillabaisse, the Provençal seafood soup. The rust-red sauce is traditionally prepared by blending chiles, garlic, olive oil, and breadcrumbs. This easy, mayonnaise-based version is delicious with fried fish and seafood.
- 1 cup - 250g mayonnaise (commerical or homemade)
- 1 tsp ketchup
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1 tsp ground hot pepper such as cayenne (or to taste)
- 1 pinch powdered saffron (optional)
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of black pepper
- Salt (you may or not may need, depending on your mayo)
Stir all ingredients in small bowl to blend.
Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
- 120mL - 4oz pot of plain yoghurt
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 ½ tsp (or more) Harissa
- Stir all the ingredients together in a small to blend. Add the harissa paste, according to your taste.
What is your favourite appetizer?
Share your favourites in the comments below.
share this post