Recipe courtesy of Bert Cutino

Sardine Factory Famous Calamari Puffs Appetizer

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 30 min
  • Prep: 25 min
  • Cook: 5 min
  • Yield: 4 servings (5 per person)
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Vegetable oil, for deep-frying

1 1/4 pounds squid, cleaned tubes only

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 egg

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 teaspoon granulated garlic

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoons panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

2 tablespoons superfine cracker meal

Lemon wedges, for serving

Chili Lime Salsa, recipe follows

Chili Lime Salsa:

1 1/4 cups chili sauce

2 cups ketchup

1/2 cup horseradish cream

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 ounces lime juice

1 1/2 teaspoons chopped garlic

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Dash hot pepper sauce (recommended: Louisiana Gold)

Salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat at least 4 inches of oil in a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven or a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. (Oil should not come more than halfway up the sides of the pan.) 
  2. Chop the squid fillets into small pieces and place in a medium bowl. Add the chopped onion, scallions, cheese, egg, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Add bread crumbs into the mixture and form into 1 1/2-ounce balls. Dredge the balls in the cracker meal and lay on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan to firm. Carefully drop squid balls into the fryer and fry until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Arrange them on a platter with lemon wedges and serve with the chili lime salsa on the side.

Chili Lime Salsa:

  1. In a large bowl, mix chili sauce and ketchup together until well blended. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.