Fried Calamari-2 Ways
I am not a giant fan of deep fried foods. We don't own a fryer but my wok is an excellent substitute. Last night we decided to co-operate and make fried calamari. In Italy, fritto misto, is a plate of mixed and fried items. The selection can vary from seafood, to vegetables, or a mix of both. It is also common for Italians to fry offal, aka the fifth quarter, aka organ meats such as liver, brains and sweet breads.
I love Japanese tempura so we decide to make both a regular batter as a coating as well as one with panko.
Start by cleaning the calamari, remove the purple skin, the tentacles and the backbone inside as well as the inner organs. Wash the bodies with lots of water and slice into 1/4-1/2 inch rings. Sprinkle about a quarter cup of salt all over the rings and give them a good scrub, then rinse, drain and pat dry. If you want to fry the tentacles too, be sure to remove the beak and cut the tentacles from the just below the eyes (the tentacles retain a lot of water and tend to pop a lot when frying, dry them well). After all the squid has been cleaned and dried dust liberally with cornstarch. Now get ready to batter-up!
1 C. flour
1 t. baking powder
carbonated water or beer (start with about 2 C.)
Mix all the batter ingredients together until smooth, it will foam, and set aside. The consistency should be that of very thin pancake batter. Dip a few cornstarch coated rings into the batter and fry at medium heat. Be sure the rings cook for only about a minute per side or they might get tough. Taste the fried rings, adjust the amount of water depending on how thin you like the batter. I like just a very light coating on my food so I end up with a very, very thin batter. Serve with course salt and lemon wedges or a mayo/tartar style dip.
2 egg white lightly beaten
Panko bread crumbs
Coat the rings quickly with egg white then dip into the panko crumbs. Make sure to coat the inside of the rings as well. Press the crumbs into the calamari and fry. Panko crumbs fry up quicker and more golden regular batter and you will have to skin burnt crumbs from the oil now and then. Still fry them quickly and serve with lemon or mayo/tartar style dip. Enjoy!
The finished product. They were crisp, tender and very light. I enjoyed both types of breading, it was nice to have a choice.
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