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Fried Calamari

Deborah Mele in FlorenceThis recipe comes from the web site of Deborah Mele, Italian Food Forever.

"My love affair with Italian cooking began almost 30 years ago when I married into a large Italian family, overflowing with talented cooks. Throughout the early years of my marriage, I had the opportunity to learn the basics of Italian cuisine, and to perfect traditional family recipes."

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"Calamari need to be either cooked quickly on high heat, or cooked for a long period on a slow simmer. Anything in between can lead to a chewy result. Fried for just under a minute in hot oil as in this recipe results in tender, crispy rings of calamari. Use your favorite dipping sauce to serve, although I like to use a simple tomato sauce spiced up with a pinch of red pepper flakes. If you have never cleaned squid before, you might find their appearance a bit intimidating, however they are actually quite easy to clean".


2 Pounds Cleaned Squid (Instructions Below)
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Cornmeal
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
Vegetable Oil For Frying


Cleaning Squid:

  • To clean the squid, first pull out the tentacles and head. Set these aside.
  • Remove the cartilage that runs down the back, and anything that is inside the tube. Run under cold water.
  • Pull off the two wing pieces, and remove the skin.
  • Slice the cleaned tube into 1 inch rings.
  • Take the tentacles and cut off the head just below the eyes, and discard this. Remove the hard beak inside.


  • Place the cleaned calamari in the freezer for 5 minutes before cooking.
  • Put 2 inches of oil into a pot, and heat to 375ºF.
  • Mix the flour, cornmeal and spices together in a plastic bag. Drop in the calamari and shake well to cover with the coating.
  • Drop the calamari into the hot oil, and cook for just under a minute, until they are golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.

Cook's Note:

A great way to serve fried calamari, is to put a handful on top of a dish of spaghetti already dressed with a good spicy tomato sauce. If you prefer a crispier crust to your calamari, dip them in beaten egg before dropping them into the coating.

Serves 4

Deborah Mele
Italian Food Forever

Chi Mangia Bene, Mangia Italiano
(Those Who Eat Well, Eat Italian)

© Deborah Mele, Italian Food Forever