Remember when I mentioned that I casually made some calamari as an appetizer to my Spicy Thai Seafood Soup? Well, here are the deets. I know what you’re thinking – is frying calamari really that casual? And honestly, it totally is. Frying is a technique that can seem intimidating, but once you do it a couple times, you’ll realize it’s as easy at sautéing, baking, or putting a piece of bread in the toaster. For reals.
I decided to add some lemon slices and Serrano chilies to the mix because A) I had some and B) that’s how they do it at Pacific Catch, my FAVE restaurant. But, you can totally omit them if you like.
I’m not a huge tartar sauce fan, so I just mixed up a quick cocktail sauce with ketchup and horseradish. Seriously, stop buying prepared cocktail sauce and just keep these items stocked in your fridge, OK? Thanks.
Cook Time | 15 mins
Serves 4 appetizer portions
- At least 4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- 4 serrano or Thai chilies (red), sliced thinly
- 2 lemons: 1 sliced into thin rings, 1 sliced into wedges
- ½ lb calamari, rinsed well
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- Salt & pepper
For cocktail sauce
- 2 tablespoons prepared horse radish
- ¼ cup ketchup
Begin by heating vegetable oil in a medium pot, ensuring oil is at least a few inches deep. If you’re using a thermometer, it should read 350 degrees (alternatively, I tested the temperature by frying a test piece, ensuring it didn’t brown too quickly or burn).
Rinse calamari well and dry on a clean dishtowel. I got a mix of tubes and tentacles; cut the tubes into ½-inch thick rings and trim the tentacles if necessary.
Mix flour, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and parsley. Working in batches, toss calamari, lemon rings, and Serranos into flour mixture and shake off excess. Fry in oil until just barely golden brown (~3-5 minutes). Remove with slotted spoon and allow to drain on a plate lined with a paper towel.
To make cocktail sauce, simply mix the ketchup and horseradish.
Serve hot from fryer with lemon wedges on the side. Squeeze lemon over top before enjoying.