Calamari Fritti

Total Time:
38 min
20 min
15 min
3 min

4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound whole squid, cleaned
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Smoked jalapeno aioli, for dipping, recipe follows
  • Tomato-basil sauce, for dipping, recipe follows
  • Rinse the squid under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the body of the squid into 1/2-inch rings and trim the tentacles as necessary. Combine the milk, egg, and basil leaves in a bowl; mix with a fork until lightly beaten. Put the prepared calamari in the milk mixture and stick it in the refrigerator while getting everything else set up; it fries better if marinated and chilled for about 15 minutes.

  • Pour about 2 inches of oil in a fryer or large, heavy pot and heat to 375 degrees F. Mix the flour and paprika in a pie dish or plate; season with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Toss the calamari in the seasoned flour to coat. Fry for 1 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and salt, to taste. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and dipping sauces.

Smoked Jalapeno Aioli:
  • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend for 1 minute to combine. Set aside to allow the flavors to marry. Serve as a dipping sauce with fried calamari.

  • Yield: 1 cup

  • Tomato-Basil Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 4 fresh basil leaves, hand-torn

  • 1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • Pinch sugar

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • Coat a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of the oil and warm over medium heat. Add the garlic and basil; cook, stirring, until soft. Add the crushed tomatoes and sugar; season with salt and pepper. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining olive oil. Serve as a dipping sauce with fried calamari.

  • Yield: 2 cups

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