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:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 to 2 canned chipotle chile in adobo
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
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
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 fresh basil leaves, hand-torn
1 (16-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
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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