Making calamari at home can be a fun thing to do with family or friends. It is a popular appetizer on restaurant menus and even kids love it. Making calamari gluten free is easy using different flours. This recipe uses two flours I already have in my kitchen, corn flour and masa harina (the flour used to make corn tortillas).
But making it gluten free isn’t the hard part. For those of us who live far from the ocean squid just isn’t the first thing you think of when serving an appetizer at home. So you need to know where and how to buy it. Then how to cook it (trust me, it’s easy). And lastly you need to be comfortable deep frying which means having some kind of a set up.
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Squid are found worldwide and fried squid in popular in many coastal cultures around the world. Calamari is the Italian word for squid, but it also refers to a specific type of squid. Calamari is said to be the most tender species of squid.
I had great fun gutting, cleaning and preparing whole squid at the Sydney Seafood School this summer. But that was enough fun. To cook calamari I buy frozen, cleaned squid tubes. They are sold at seafood shops and many grocery stores. Plan ahead and get them into your freezer.
Thaw and slice into rings. That’s it.
There are two ways to cook squid; quickly on high heat or low and slow. Deep-frying is the quick method. Pre-soaking the rings in milk before cooking is one way to get nice tender calamari so plan accordingly.
I deep fry without a deep fryer. Many years ago I created a set up using my wok and I still do it that way. A simple flat bottom wok is excellent for all sorts of Asian cooking but it is also perfect for deep-frying. In my house the wok lives in the cupboard above the fridge. I couldn’t live without it.
A wok gets wider as it goes up so requires less oil than a frying pan or large pot. My wok came with a long handled strainer but a slotted spoon also works to turn and remove food from the oil. A deep frying thermometer is inexpensive, easily clips onto the rim of the wok and is a helpful little tool for occasional use.
After you enjoyed the calamari the oil will have cooled enough to put it away. Set a 4-cup pyrex measuring cup in your sink making it easier to pour the oil into it. Set a strainer over the measuring cup to strain out the food bits. At this point leave the oil in the cup until completely cooled before pouring it back into the jug it came in. With a marker label the container for DEEP FRYING and store it for another use.
Deep-frying isn’t a daunting task if you have a good system for storage. I use the same oil a few times over several months before I throw it away.
Let me know in the comments below if you make this deep-fried calamari and how it turned out.
|4 frozen squid tubes, thawed and sliced into ½” rings|
|½ cup milk|
|½ cup corn flour|
|½ cup masa harina|
|oil for deep-frying|
|FINISHING – coconut, lime salt and ancho chile mayo|
|¼ cup toasted coconut (optional)|
|2 Tbsp sea salt|
|zest of 1 lime|
|ANCHO CHILE MAYO|
|½ cup mayonnaise|
|1 Tbsp lime juice|
|½ tsp ancho chile powder|
|salt to taste|
|GARNISH – lime wedges|
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