A lot of people find calamari chewy and tough… well let me tell you – if you make your own you won’t think that any more!
Squid are fascinating creatures that change colour in an almost alien like way and they squirt black ink as a defense mechanism. The fact they feed mainly at night and are attracted to light make wharfs and piers the ideal fishing location to jig for squid.
In summertime, they can been found swimming close to the surface after dark attracted to the light of the wharf in some harbours of Atlantic Canada. I have been lucky enough to catch fresh squid on a few occasions (they are a lot of fun to jig). Even if you don’t have squid in your area natively many supermarkets carry it frozen. My suggestion is to speak to the staff in the seafood counter and ask if they have any. Often they have it frozen and only take out a bit at a time to put in their display case.
Cajun Deep Fried Calamari
- 1 lb fresh (or previously frozen) calamari cut into 1/4“rings & keeping tentacles – see note below on cleaning and preparing.
- ¾ Cup white all purpose flour (I use Bob Red Mills Gluten Free 1/1 flour)
- ¼ Cup Corn flour
- 1 ½ teaspoon Cajun Seasoning (I use Emeril Legasse’s Essence – the recipe can be found online)
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 Cup Buttermilk
- Kosher Salt & Dried Parsley for plating
- Oil for frying (canola or other)
- Place calamari rings and tentacles in a medium glass bowl with the buttermilk and stir to combine.
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate. Ideally for a couple of hours but minimum 30 minutes.
- Heat oil to 375 degrees F. This can be done by using 3-4” of oil heated over medium heat in a large deep pot but it’s preferable to use a deep fryer. If you are using the pot method make sure you have a thermometer that will monitor the oil temperature as hot oil can be very dangerous if you do not.
- Place the all purpose flour, corn flour, Cajun seasoning and baking powder in a medium bowl; stir to combine.
- Remove each piece of squid from the buttermilk (allowing the excess buttermilk to drip off) and dredge in the flour. Place coated squid on a plate. A fork works well for this step.
- Repeat the process until all pieces are coated.
- Place 8-10 pieces of squid in the hot oil.
- Pay close attention as the squid will cook fast! Fry for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the squid from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining squid.
- Sprinkle Calamari with kosher salt and a pinch of dried (or fresh chopped) parsley.
- Serve immediately.
Cleaning and Preparing Squid
When it comes to cleaning and preparing squid to make calamari there are a few tricks that you need to know if you are getting whole squid. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife have a good post on how to do it. For this recipe, I use the method illustrated in Method B in the link below.