I hope you guys don’t mind, but I have really been into Italian food and Carrabba’s recipes lately, hence all my latest posts lol. This is another one of our favorites and Carrabba’s Italian Grill makes it the best, maybe that’s why it is actually their best selling appetizer. I have always wanted to make this dish at home, so I finally did. This is the exact Carrabba’s recipe. The fried calamari turns out perfect…tender and crisp with a light and delicate coating. We like to dip it in Marinara Sauce and Garlic Aioli sauce. I must admit that I had a hard time making this dish because it was my first time dealing with (and touching) raw squid, and I have a very weak stomach. So consider this a warning: Calamari is made from squid and you will have to touch it! I told my husband I was making it for him and that I wouldn’t eat it, but it turned out so delicious I ended up eating half lol. I was surprised at how fast and easy it is to make Fried Calamari, in the restuarant it looks so perfect and that makes it intimidating to cook but it’s actually very simple. If you are looking for a yummy new appetizer or if you love seafood, this recipe is for you! I made Marinara Sauce and Garlic Aioli Sauce for this appetizer and I highly recommend you make both sauces for dipping too, if you want to get the ultimate, restaurant, taste. 🙂
- 1 Pd. Calamari, cleaned
- 1/2 Cup All Purpose Flour
- Vegetable Oil (For deep frying)
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher Salt (I used Sea Salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black Pepper
- Lemon Wedges, for serving *Optional
- Marinara Sauce or Garlic Aioli Sauce
- * (Ingredients and directions for Marinara sauce is on this page, below. Or you can use canned marinara sauce, heated up. The recipe for Garlic Aioli Sauce is posted on the recipe for Zucchini Fries here http://sofiesbestrecipes.com/2014/03/03/zucchini-fries-with-garlic-aioli-sauce/)*
1) Wash the Calamari (Squid). Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Line 1 baking sheet with 2 layers of paper towels. Have a 2nd baking sheet ready nearby.
2) Pour enough oil to come 1 inch up the side of a large, heavy saucepan. Heat over High heat to 350 Degrees (On a deep frying thermometer).
3) Cut the Calamari bodies (Sacs/Tubes) crosswise into 1/2 inch-wide rings. Cut each cluster of tentacles in halves or thirds. Season the Calamari with salt/pepper and mix.
4) Pour the flour into a bowl. Divide the calamari into 2 batches. Put the first batch of calamari into the bowl with flour and coat it with the flour, shaking off excess flour.
5) Add the coated calamari into the saucepan with the hot oil. Cook over High heat until the calamari are golden brown, about 2-4 minutes.
6) Using a slotted spoon transfer the calamari onto the baking sheet lined with paper towels to briefly drain.
7) Move the calamari to the second baking sheet and place in the oven, to keep it warm and crisp. Repeat the same steps with the 2nd batch of calamari. Add more flour to the bowl if there is not enough, I did add a few spoons more of flour.
8) Transfer the calamari to the serving plate. You can add lemon wedges to the plate, for decoration. Serve with marinara sauce and or garlic aioli sauce for dipping, if desired. I served with both sauces because we like our calamari with yummy sauces.
- 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 small Yellow Onion, Finely chopped
- 2 Scallions (white & green part) Finely chopped
- 2 Anchovy Fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped (Optional*)
- 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 Cup hearty Red Wine (Such as Citra Montepulciano)
- 1 Can (28 oz.) Whole Tomatoes in juice
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon Hot, Crushed, Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1) Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the scallions, anchovies (if using), garlic, and cook. Stir occasionally until garlic is fragrant for about 1 minute.
2) Add the wine. Pour the tomatoes and their juices into a bowl. Crush the tomatoes between your fingers, and pour the mixture into the saucepan. Add the oregano, hot pepper flakes, and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to med.-low. Simmer, stirring often, until the tomato juices have thickened and the sauce has reduced slightly, about 30 minutes. * The sauce can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Or freeze for up to 2 months and thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.)