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.
Yield 4 servings
2 cups of cooking oil (I recommend avocado oil, coconut oil, or some kind of animal fat)
1 lb of calamari (bodies, tentacles, or a combination of both)
3/4 cup of arrowroot powder
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
A crack of black pepper
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.
While the oil heats up, chop up the calamari. 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 the arrowroot powder with the coconut flour, paprika, salt, thyme, garlic powder, and 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!
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.