Fried Calamari Recipe with a Creamy Lemon Dressing
The word “calamari” is Italian and it is often used instead of the word “squid” – especially when the squid in question is fried. It might interest you to learn that Japan consumes more squid per head than any other country in the world, a huge 700,000 tons per year! They either eat it raw, using it for sushi or sashimi, or deep-fry it in batter to make tempura.
Squid takes a minute or two to become tender but if you overcook it, it will become rubbery which is something you must avoid. Overcooking seafood ruins it, especially squid, so take care. Calamari is a staple in Greek, Italian, and Turkish restaurants, as well as seafood restaurants of course. It is often served as an appetizer and sprinkled with parmesan cheese or garnished with fresh parsley. In some countries, it is served in bigger portions as an entree. The following recipe makes enough for four appetizer-size portions so perhaps if you cook fries with it, it could serve two as an entree instead.
Dips for calamari are optional and can include cocktail sauce, marinara sauce, or tartar sauce. Tzatziki (a cucumber yogurt dip) or peppercorn mayonnaise are popular in Europe, as well as lemon mayonnaise. Calamari in Mexico is often served with habanero sauce or Tabasco sauce. The following recipe features a lemon mayonnaise which has a mild yet delicious flavor and goes very nicely with both the salad garnish and the deep-fried squid recipe itself.
- 1 lb squid hoods
- 1 tablespoon lemon pepper
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
- 1 bag salad leaves
- 2 handfuls of salad leaves, to serve
- Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
- Halve the squid hoods lengthwise and use a sharp knife to score a crosshatch patter on the insides.
- Cut each half into 5 pieces lengthwise and stir them with the salt, pepper and flour until well coated.
- Shake off the excess flour.
- Combine the lemon juice with the boiling water and mayonnaise.
- Heat a couple of inches of oil in a wok and deep-fry the squid in batches until it is golden brown and tender.
- Drain on kitchen paper.
- Toss all except 2 tablespoons of the lemon mayonnaise with the salad leaves.
- Serve the hot fried squid with the mayonnaise-coated salad leaves and serve the rest of the lemon mayonnaise on the side or drizzle it over the squid.
As the picture shows, this delicious calamari looks really tempting, especially when drizzled in lemon mayonnaise and served with a tasty green salad. You can use any kind of salad leaves you want and you might also like to add bell pepper strips, as shown in the photo, or halved cherry tomatoes. Remember that the deep fried squid recipe is the star of the show though and the salad is just a colorful backdrop. This hot, succulent seafood is sure to make your mouth water when you smell its amazing aroma. A glass of Pinot Gris on the side transforms this tasty snack into a gourmet appetizer.
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