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Fried Calamari (Squid)

Fried Calamari (Squid)
Through the years, I’ve gotten away from my childhood tradition of eating fried fish for Christmas eve, opting instead for dishes that are prepared in the oven or sauteéd on the stove top, like pasta with mixed shellfish, or swordfish involtini.  My kids threaten to mutiny if I omit those dishes, or the baccala mantecato or the stuffed squid (which my son now prepares) from the menu, but I have managed to wean everyone from the fried smelts, and all the other fried seafood, including squid. Aside from the difficulty of navigating several pans of sizzling, deep oil amid the chaos and confusion of choreographing seven to nine different dishes to be ready at the same time, frying fish just leaves a huge clean up job and a penetrating smell in the house that doesn’t go away for a couple of days.
But a couple of nights after Christmas eve, when I was home alone and rummaging through the refrigerator, I found a container with a few squid that hadn’t been used for our family dinner. I couldn’t resist the urge to fry up some squid “rings.”
And let me just say, due to unforseen circumstances – which involved another leftover – namely a third of a bottle of Prosecco – these were the best fried squid rings I’d ever made – or eaten. The batter had the perfect lightness and crunch without being greasy and the squid were tender too. I’ve made fried squid using a simple dusting of flour, and I’ve made it with a batter of flour, eggs and beer. My favorite way has been to use just flour and San Pellegrino water, but I figured since I had the Prosecco, why not use the bubbly to give the batter a little “lift.” With New Year’s eve just a day away, you’ll most likely have some Prosecco or Champagne in the house, so why not treat yourself to some fried calamari too?
Just mix some flour (I used about a cup) and pour in some Prosecco (start with 1/4 cup or so) until you get a consistency of a thin pudding. Add a little salt and a couple of dashes of cayenne pepper to give it some “zing.”
Slice the cleaned squid bodies into “rings.” They’re limp when you slice into them, but will take shape as soon as they hit the hot oil. Make sure the oil is good and hot. Test it first with a small piece before filling the whole pan with the squid.  Turn them over once, drain them on some paper towels and sprinkle with salt while they’re hot.
Serve them immediately with lemon slices (or some tomato sauce) and hopefully, you’ll have enough Prosecco leftover to pour a glass for yourself.
But don’t let my kids know I whipped up this batch of fried squid, or I’ll be back on fry duty again next Christmas eve.
Buon Anno Amici!
 May 2015 be filled with as much joy as you have given me,
dear, faithful readers. – Ciao Chow Linda

Batter for Fried Calamari (can be used for other fish, or frying vegetables too)
printable recipe here

1 cup flour (approximately)
1/4 cup Prosecco (approximately)
dash of salt
dash of cayenne pepper

Add all the ingredients together, using a whisk to blend. Add more Prosecco (or seltzer water if you don’t have enough Prosecco) until the batter is the consistency of a thin pudding.
Dip the sliced squid rings into the batter, lift with a fork to wipe off excess, then drop into hot oil. Turn once when golden on the first side and remove when golden on the second side. Drain on paper towels and season with salt immediately.

This Post Has 15 Comments
  1. I've used beer batter in the past, but this seems so much lighter and much more Italian, I might try that with some shrimp I have and that bottle of Prosecco in my fridge! Here's to 2015, hope it's the best year yet for Ciao Chow Linda!

  2. Un fritto leggero e croccante non si rifiuta mai, che voglia mi hai fatto venire ! Cara Linda ti auguro un meraviglioso 2015, speriamo di vederci, un abbraccio !

  3. This is pretty impressive! That batter, when fried, even looks light. Isn't it great how those little tidbits can turn into significant discoveries. I am glad you enjoyed your impromptu meal. Buon anno!

  4. Wow, those rings look divine. I am a coward about trying to cook squid. I am keeping this recipe. I think I drooled on my keyboard while gazing at your pictures.

    Linda, Wishing You And Your's A Very Happy And Properous New Year!

  5. Such wonderful memories of my papa. He loved calamari and my mamma hated frying it but for him she did it with great enthusiasm and love. When we first moved to this country they had a hard time finding it but when they finally did it was a great celebration!! Thank you for the recipe — I will try it. Felice Anno Nuovo.

  6. Buon Anno cara e bella amica! Your calamari look fabulous! I have enjoyed your blog so much through the years and know that you're going to share so many more wonderful recipes and experiences in 2015!

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