Yes to Yummy

Fried Calamari (gluten-free, grain-free, paleo)

July 19, 2014 2 Comments Print this page

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It’s aliveeeeeeeeee!

Actually, not really. It’s just calamari, which always looks a little wild when you’re serving the tentacles.

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A lot of people don’t like seafood or rarely cook it at home, and personally, I think it’s very unfortunate. Fish and shellfish are chock full of protein, healthy fats, and minerals, and cultures who regularly eat it are shown to be healthier and live longer overall.

Like meat, it’s very important to source good-quality seafood from a reputable source. Remember: you are what you eat eats! Like factory-raised livestock, farm-raised fish are forced to swim in tight enclosures and are fed cheap feed usually made from genetically modified wheat, soy, and corn–none of which are good for the fish or for you. Besides, are salmon and tuna really supposed to eat these things? Have you ever seen a fish roaming around a field munching on a grain stalk? I think not.

While wild-caught seafood can be very expensive (sometimes over $25 a pound, twice as much as a less-expensive cut of grass-fed steak at our local butcher), squid tends to be very cost-friendly. Maybe people are afraid of cooking this tentacle-y critter? Whatever the reason, buying squid is an excellent opportunity to incorporate sustainable seafood into your diet at a relatively low cost.

Besides, in the summertime, what could be better than some tasty fried seafood?

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While I don’t fry things often (mostly because I hate smelling like MacDonald’s after I drop things into a pot of hot oil), there is something so incredibly delicious about fried calamari. It was my choice appetizer at an Italian restaurant when I was younger–I loved the crispiness and the slightly acidic, sometimes spicy punch of tomato sauce on the side. I also have fond memories of snacking on some in a fancy dress atop a high building in Boston and in a dive on a lake in the summertime…it’s just an all-around amazing food.

I wouldn’t likely order fried calamari in a restaurant again, but it’s really fun to make at home…and actually very easy! So easy, in fact, that I feel a bit silly about posting it on the blog, but I will anyway, because I need some more seafood recipes in my recipe index. But no, seriously, this fried calamari is tasty squared.

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Are you ready to chow on some tentacles? I hope so! Let’s get cooking.

First, pour two cups of your fat of choice into a medium saucepan–one with high sides and a fairly narrow bottom. I used leftover drippings from when I sear duck breasts because it has a high smoke point and doesn’t sputter like mad–you can also use avocado oil, coconut oil, or even lard, if you’d like. Whatever you do, don’t use olive oil–it has a low smoke point, which means lots of sputtering and possible smoke in your kitchen. Better to be safe than sorry.

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While the oil heats up, chop up 1 lb of calamari–I used a combination of bodies and tentacles, but you can use whichever you prefer. Make sure you pat them dry with a paper towel and give the bodies a rinse with some water to get out any grime.

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup of arrowroot powder with 1/4 cup of coconut flour, 1 teaspoon of paprika, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and a crack of black pepper. Stir together with a fork and drop in 1/4 of the squid pieces. Toss to coat, taking care to remove any excess flour mixture. Transfer to a plate.

When the oil reaches 350 degrees, drop in the coated squid. Let it fry for 2 minutes, using a slotted spoon to move the pieces around every 30 seconds or so. Make sure the pot isn’t overcrowded, or the squid won’t brown!

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Once light brown and crispy, transfer the fried squid pieces to a plate lined with paper towels. Eat immediately, or keep warm in the oven.

Repeat the same process with the remaining squid until all of it has been cooked. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too cold between batches–you can always pause for a minute and let it heat it up again.

Serve hot and fresh with some Basic Tomato Sauce for dipping.

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Long live summer! (Although I am looking forward to starting my junior year…)

What is your favorite kind of fried seafood? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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