5.23.11 Squid Pro Quo
Do you have fear of deep frying? Get over it. And if it's calories you're worried about, fuggedaboutit. The moisture in the food actually repels the oil. As long as the oil is hot enough (around 350º) and the food is not in it for too long, the oil will be confined to the outer surface. Because of the gluten-free thing, I used rice flour instead of the all-purpose in this recipe. A combination of that and masa harina (or you can use fine cornmeal) created a very thin, lightly crispy coating that was nothing like that bready, shaggy stuff you often get in cheapo restaurants. Although frying the parlsey and lemon is optional, I think you should go for it. Both were delicious, but the parsley especially was a revelation. And aside from salt and lemon you don't really need any condiment, but I could see how some homemade mayonnaise or even some Tabasco could be quite nice.
Fried Squid (Calamari), Lemon & Parsley
- — 4 cups high-heat neutral vegetable oil (like peanut or safflower)
- — 1 pound cleaned small calamari (squid), tubes and legs, rinsed well and drained
- — 1 cup rice flour (or substitute all-purpose)
- — 1 cup masa harina, or fine cornmeal
- — 1 handful parsley leaves, clean but well dried
- — 1 large lemon, thinly sliced
- — sea salt
- — lemon wedges
Over medium-low heat in a medium stock pot, heat oil to 350º. (A candy thermometer is very useful here.) Slice squid tubes into ½” rings. Set aside. Mix flour and masa harina in a medium bowl. Set aside.
When oil has reached temperature, carefully and quickly drop some parsley leaves in the oil. Stand back as they will sputter and hiss like hell. Wear long sleeves and use a splatter screen, if you have one. Fry in small batches for a few seconds and remove parsley with a spider strainer or slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined cooling rack.
Dredge lemon slices in flour mixture. When oil comes back up to temperature, shake off excess flour and fry lemon for a minute or so, until just beginning to brown. It's important not to crowd the pan, so do this in batches if you need, letting the oil come back up to temperature each time. Remove fried lemon to the paper towel-lined cooling rack.
Dredge a small handful of calamari rings and legs in the flour mixture. Shake off the excess and, using the spider strainer, gently lower the calamari into the hot oil, making sure to separate the pieces. Fry for about 2 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Remove to the paper towel-lined cooling rack. Season right away and generously with salt. Repeat with the remaining calamari. SERVE IMMEDIATELY.