Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
A lot of people love fried calamari (squid) because when it is done well, it is a real treat. But the only time they have it is when they have the good fortune to be in a restaurant that has it on the menu.
If you love fried calamari but have never cooked it, it is quite easy to do, the trick is not to overcook the little tubes. Buy the tubes already cleaned, and you can have all of the goodness without the messiness of removing the ink sack and skin, etc. The supermarket is your friend; look for calamari already cleaned and packaged*. They will be in your fresh fish or frozen fish section. After you cut the already clean tubes into rings, the hardest this you will to do is to keep your calamari tender by not cooking it too long.
3 lb. package cleaned calamari tubes
1 tspn dried oregano
1 tspn paprika
3/4 tspn cayenne pepper
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt and black pepper to taste
Enough vegetable oil to deep fry calamari
Rinse and cut calamari into 1/4-inch-thick rings, then soak in cold water at least 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Drain calamari and pat each ring dry to ready for flour coating.
In a medium sized bowl mix oregano, paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, black pepper and flour together. You may leave mix in bowl or put into paper bag or zip lock bag. Drop small handfuls of dry calamari in bag, tighten bag and shake until the calamari are covered with flour the mixture. If using a bowl, toss a few calamari in flour and use your hands or a fork to cover each tube with flour. When the calamari is floured, remove it from the flour, separate each tube and place on paper towel. Allow to sit 5 minutes before cooking.
Fry calamari in hot oil. Fry them in small batches, quickly and carefully until they are a light golden brown. Then remove from oil immediately and place on brown paper bags or paper towels to remove any excess oil. Taste. If more salt or pepper is needed, sprinkle on calamari while they are hot. Serve with a 'doctored' ready-made tomato sauce such as marinara. See below.
Easy Spicy Hot Marinara Sauce
Open one 16 oz. jar of marinara sauce and heat to a light simmer. Divide sauce into two 8 oz. servings. Add hot pepper sauce to taste (1 to 2 teaspoons) to one 8 oz. serving. This will give you two dipping sauces, one hot, one mild.
I always use Franks Red Hot Cayenne Pepper Sauce for this. It seems to give the best flavor to the marinara sauce.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
*Ready to cook calamari/squid can be found at most supermarkets. You can find the packages with or with tentacles. I dodn't buy tentacles, I like to pretend that the little tubes are just that :-(