Fried Calamari

Total Time:
30 min
10 min
20 min

6 servings

  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 pound clean squid with tentacles, bodies cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick rings
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 lemons, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup simple tomato sauce, recipe follows or jarred marinara sauce, warmed
  • Simple Tomato Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 (32-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, optional

Pour enough oil into a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Mix the flour, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Working in small batches, toss the squid into the flour mixture to coat. Carefully add the squid to the oil and fry until crisp and very pale golden, about 1 minute per batch. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.

Place the fried calamari and lemon wedges on a clean plate. Sprinkle with salt. Serve with the marinara sauce.

Simple Tomato Sauce:

In a large casserole pot, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add celery and carrots and season with salt and pepper. Saute until all the vegetables are soft, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer uncovered on low heat for 1 hour or until thick. Remove bay leaves and check for seasoning. If sauce still tastes acidic, add unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon at a time to round out the flavors.

Add 1/2 the tomato sauce into the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth. Continue with remaining tomato sauce.

If not using all the sauce, allow it to cool completely and pour 1 to 2 cup portions into freezer plastic bags. This will freeze up to 6 months.

Yield: 6 cups

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

East of preparation: easy

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Pairs Well With
Sparkling Wine

Anything with bubbles

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    75 Reviews
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    Only used one cup of flour for 3/4 lb. squid but still had about half a cup left over. Breading stuck better to tentacles than to rings. Squeezed fresh lemon juice over fried calamari and dipped in a spicy arrabbiata sauce. Yummy!
    The flour did not stick at all! At the end, I had a pile a flour at the bottom of the pot! I just made squid with tons and tons of oil. Not crispy at all..!! How disappointing.
    Yuck!!!! Normally I love everything that Giada makes but this was horrible. I followed the recipe exact, I am not impressed. The breading did not stick at all. The saviour of stars was the sauce, that is wonderful it will be my quick go to sauce when I don't have a lot of time. Although, I did pizazz it up some like others suggested.
    Great 'all purpose' recipe. I will use this for all dishes that call for marinara sauce. The only changes I made were that I added 3/4 teaspoon of basil, 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup of dry red wine for the full recipe. It really made it crazy good! I would also suggest cutting the recipe in half, unless you are needing a lot of sauce.
    My husband and I recently moved to Panama and decided to try cooking fresh Calimari we found in the local grocery. You'd think, being from New England, that I'd tried this before, but NO! Wow - so easy and so......good. Did as other reviewers suggested and added garlic powder and paprika to the flour coating. I did not have any problem getting the coating to stick and it really does only take about 1 minute to cook. Yummy, but I'm going to look for a lighter, less flavor intensive dipping sauce. The marinara was yummy with pasta, but really did not let the calimari taste shine! Great recipe and so glad I finally conquered my fear and tried calimari. It's so inexpensive here and I look forward to looking like a star at our next dinner party! Thanks, Giada!
    This recipe is simple and easy, hard to screw up, however I did find it a bit bland. Definately needs a little more spice for my taste. Over all this is a great recipe, but can use a few tweeks depending on your taste!
    Simple recipe but tasty! Got this tip somewhere on the Internet; to keep squid tender soak in milk or butter milk for two-three hours. It really makes a difference.
    Excellent recipe. Tender,crunchy and light. Since it is excess moisture that causes calamari to toughen, I dried the calamari by placing it in a colander over a bowl after slicing it, refrigerated it for several hours, then dried it further on paper towel,  
    I dipped the calamari in beaten egg, then the seasoned flour. This kept the flour on the calamari, avoiding the dropping off others have complained of. 
    This was the best calamari iv'e ever tastd in my life. I made it with my boyfriend and he loved it.
    I have gone to several restaurants in my area. Whenever I receive the fried calamari (appetizer or main course) the squid is crispy yet the lining is always a little "rubbery". I tried the recipe at home with my wife and the result was the same. Am I doing something wrong or is the lining supposed to be soft or rubbery? Please let me know.
    Just made this after scanning the recipe and watching the video. The calamari was light in color. I didn't experience flour falling off but my squid was slightly damp. I thought this was a very good recipe. Of course, you can jazz it up with whatever spices you like but I preferred to keep it simple and focus on the taste of the calamari. Maybe one day when I'm in the mood for spice I would add some cayenne pepper to the mix.

    I had a bottled marinara that I added coarsely diced capers and Italian green olives to for a sauce.

    If people are experiencing oily calamari. I can only think the oil was not hot enough. That is the only time I experience that happening which thankfully DIDN'T happen with the calamari. Maybe watching the video would help. She made a point of mentioning that the calamari should be deep friend and should float.

    One way to test the oil is to put a small bit of flour in it. If it starts sizzling immediately you're in good shape, if not the oil isn't hot enough. Also, the oil should kind of shimmer and ripple when it's getting good and hot.

    Also, to deepen color and not extend the cooking time, one could try some paprika to the flour, that would help add a bit of color.
    This recipe is awesome IF you add a LOT more seasoning to the breading. I personally like Kosher salt, ground black pepper, cayene, garlic powder and Old Bay. Make sure that the squid is wet when you dip into the dry mixture, if not then the breading is going to fall apart while frying. Maybe that is where some of you went wrong (not sure.) If you want a crispier crust (more golden brown) just fry it longer. The tomato sauce is fabulous and just as good after freezing!
    Tasted wonderful! ONly problem is the breading likes to fall off in the oil...otherwise wonderful
    Glada always makes her recipe Beautiful and Scrumptious you can not go wrong! Try the Fried Calamari... I am Greek and love her recipe....
    Where is the crispy crust? Pale golden is an understatement. The tentacles came out nice and crispy but there was really no batter at all left on the rings. I monitored the temp for the oil and they were still very oily. i got a stomache ache. I made this myself years ago without a recipe and they came out much better. Oh well. I didn't take the time to make the marinara so I made simple cocktail sauce.
    The sauce was bland, the flour separated from the squid the second it hit the pan. It came out way too chewy, not crisp and I followed directions to the T. Im out forty bucks and my kitchen stinks.
    Hummmm! and very easy
    light in batter, awesome... great seasoning! What makes a good recipe better? the ease.
    I had bought a bag of frozen calamari rings and i was unsure what to do with them. I found this recipe, and they came out great! My husband and kids loved them, and it was sooo simple. I added more salt to the flour to ensure a tasty finish!
    Kudos to more calamari recipes - I've been making calamari for my guests, tell them I will tell them what it is after they try a bite and they LOVE it!! Being a transplanted Italian New Englander living in Texas, calamari is SUPER hard to find but when I can, this recipe is a good basic standby.

    Only changes I make to this particular recipe are that I use garlic salt instead of regular salt in the flour and then lightly sprinkle with a little more garlic salt to add a nice flavor. A pinch of cayenne in the flour adds a tiny kick too! (or add crushed pepper to your marinara)
    There are definitely better recipes out there in the world...
    For everyone saying that they thought it was a bit bland, try tossing in some thin slices of fresh basil. Being from Long Island, this is how I remember eating calamari growing up around my Italian extended family.
    This receipe is foolproof! It's easy, fast, and delicious. You don't need to get any special ingredients to make this, you can pretty much find all the ingredients in your pantry!
    I just tried this recipe. The good thing about it is that it was easy to make the batter and quick also.
    It was lite which was a good thing.
    However, I would prefer to have a crispier crust then this one.
    If you want to have a quick way to make calamari then go ahead. But if you want a crispier, heavier crust then you should probably try another recipe.
    My entire family loved this as a Thanksgiving appetizer!
    All we could taste was the oil. No one liked it. :(
    This was the first time I tried making fried calamari @ home. The taste and texture were perfect. The only thing I would do differently next time would be make it light brown. Mine were still a little on the blonde side. Maybe add some paprika? I did not have any dried parsley so I added basil and thyme with a dash of garlic powder and Old Bay seasoning. Outrageously good! Can't wait to make it again.
    Best calamari I have ever had period.
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    Italian Cooking Basics