OMG Fried Calamari

by Cate on March 30, 2009

OMG Calamari
It was only a few years ago that I really discovered calamari.  Oh I had tried it way before then, but it was hard and rubbery.  And those tentacles?  No thank you!  But then The Husband and I were out at a restaurant, and the waitress passed by with a plate heaped with fried calamari.  All of the sudden, I wanted some.  They smelled amazing and something just said, “order them.”  And so began my love affair with fried calamari.  It was that night that I learned that true fried calamari, good fried calamari should melt in your mouth like butter.  And that order did.

The Husband discovered his love for fried calamari that day too.  And since then, upon occasion when we’re eating out, we try the calamari.  Except for that restaurant, we have yet to find it as good.  Even though we don’t live nearby anymore, we still occasionally head back to that restaurant, just for their calamari.

This past Friday, I was struggling with deciding on what to make for dinner.  Fridays during Lent are meat-free.  For some reason, I usually forget and am scrambling at the last minute to nix the meat-laden menu or plans we had, and trying to find quick fish and seafood substitutes.  This time, we decided to have a mini seafood feast like the New Years’ Eve ones that we love so much.  I’ve never made calamari before, but decided on a whim to give it a try as part of our last minute feast.

Had I known it was this easy, I would have made it a long time ago.  The hardest part of the recipe?  Not eating it all.  Even though we both avoid the tentacles, the calamari was so good, The Husband even ate those.  It was that good.  And Madeline?  She had her first taste of calamari.  And her second.  She seemed to like it, but Nick wanted no part of it.

Looking for your next OMG recipe?  Need something meat-free?  Whatever the reason, or just because, you can’t go wrong with this one.  Crispy, delicious and melt-in-your-mouth good.  I think we have the next contender for New Years’ Eve.  But I guarantee you we won’t be waiting that long to have it again.

Fried Calamari
Recipe courtesy of Cate O’Malley

1 pound fresh calamari (tubes and tentacles), rinsed and sliced into rings (about 1/2″ wide)
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground paprika
vegetable oil

Soak the calamari in the buttermilk for at least one hour.  Combine the flour with the salt, pepper and paprika in a medium bowl.  Remove the calamari from the buttermilk and shake off a bit of the excess.  Dredge the calamari in the flour mixture, keeping all the pieces separate.  Shake off the excess flour.

Pour oil to a depth of about 2 inches in a deep pan.  Heat to 365 or until bubbles form on the end of a wooden spoon handle inserted in the pan (can you tell I don’t use thermometers?).  Fry calamari, in batches, for about 1 minute or until done, turning after 30 seconds.  Make sure to not crowd the pan.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve with fresh squeezed lemon.

Cate’s Note:  I like the pureness of just salt and pepper as the flavoring, but you could certainly add more to the flour to change up the seasoning … for example, lemon pepper or Old Bay would work well also.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

RecipeGirl March 30, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Are you pregnant again? Just kidding :)

We absolutely love fried calamari- have never thought of making it at home though. Sounds wonderful! Kiddo likes it too. I still have quite a hard time with the pieces that are like tentacles though. Can’t quite get over that!

RecipeGirls last blog post..How to Make Homemade Alfajores


Stacey Snacks March 30, 2009 at 9:39 pm

This stuff is dangerous…….I could eat it all!

Next time, try it with a cornmeal crust, and save the tentacles for me! I love them!


Sarah March 30, 2009 at 9:55 pm

That sounds amazingly easy….I hate the tentacles too, but I might have to suck it up and try this one Friday. Soooo yum looking. Well, either that or drive to your neck of the woods for a taste ;)

Sarahs last blog post..Simple Pleasure: The Easy Tuna Salad


Lesley March 31, 2009 at 6:36 am

I can’t say that I’ve had much calamari but you’re making it sound preeeeetty good!! ; )

Lesleys last blog post..Fire-Roasted Steak Asparagus Alfredo


Patsy March 31, 2009 at 8:24 am

Love that you made it at home and had great results! Both of my boys will gobble up calamari when given the chance… they’ll skip the tentacles as well (me, too!).

Patsys last blog post..Oatmeal-Blueberry Muffins


Cathy @ Chief Family Officer March 31, 2009 at 9:45 am

My recipe is even easier – I soak the calamari in buttermilk, then dredge in cornmeal (or half cornmeal, half flour), fry, and then season generously with fine sea salt. My kids love it too, and a one-pound bag of calamari disappears almost instantly between the four of us. Thank you for reminding me that I should make this really soon!

Cathy @ Chief Family Officers last blog post..How Toddlers’ Brains Work


Kris March 31, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Loved fried calamari!

The Godfather in East Hanover has the best. We go for fried calamari, tri colored salad and bruschetta pizza


Sara March 31, 2009 at 1:41 pm

I love fried calamari. It seems like almost every restaurant has that as a throw away easy appetizer on their menu, but it is almost always lackluster. Yours look perfect!

Saras last blog post..How to Make Oven Baked Potato or Hash Brown Cakes


Chrissy March 31, 2009 at 10:16 pm

I LOVE calamari. After having it cooked perfectly, it’s always so disappointing when you order it and it’s overcooked. Making it at home seems like a good solution!


Elyse April 1, 2009 at 1:35 am

The name alone sounds delicious! “OMG”…how could these not be amazing, and boy, do they look amazing!! I love crispy, melt-in-your-mouth calamari. But, I’ve never actually tried to make them myself. You’ve totally inspired me to try this recipe out!

Elyses last blog post..Toddy’s first foray into baking…


Cynthia April 1, 2009 at 10:11 am

Fried calamari done right is out of this world! I’m so glad that you and the Husband loved it.

Cynthias last blog post..My Char Siu & Siew Yuk


Denise Lew April 1, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Do you have a Twitter page?



MsGourmet April 1, 2009 at 5:01 pm

We are a family of calamari eaters – we just love it! I just lightly dust it in semolina, fry in good olive oil, squeeze of lemon and done :)

MsGourmets last blog post..Green and Red salad with lemon dressing


The Sister In-Law April 1, 2009 at 6:38 pm

I love calamari especially the tentacles!!



sharon April 1, 2009 at 7:27 pm

I shunned calamari for a good portion of my life, but finally saw the light a few years ago. Now, hubby and I order it at almost every good restaurant we go to. Probably not the healthiest approach but at least we agree on it!


glowha February 2, 2010 at 10:21 am

After reading the recipe and all the comments from the different readers….today is Calamari dinner at home! Thank you for the OMG recipe and the variations listed by the readers.


Maria December 14, 2011 at 9:17 am

your calamari looks amazing, can you make it in a deep fryer or do you just suggest making it in a pan?


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