Calamari with Lemon-Basil Sauce

Oh Calamari how I love thee. Tender, crispy and crunchy you make my heart melt. When I first heard of Calamari I was working at a seafood restaurant and all of the other servers would eat it pretty often, but I would always shy away. Finally one day, on a dare, I tried some and thank god I did.  Now when ever Ryan and I dine out I usually have to order calamari as an appetizer, it is the perfect way to start a meal. For those of you that don’t know, it is squid and while that may not sound appetizing, when it is battered and fried it is delicious.  I recently bought calamari rings so I could give this a shot at home and it was surprisingly easy. For this recipe, I toss some calamari rings with seasoned flour and fry them until they are golden. While they are tasty on their own, I also served them with a Lemon-Basil dipping sauce.

The Recipe

  • Serves 4
  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 pound calamari rings, thawed if frozen (If you buy it frozen it will usually be cut into rings for you, which is what I prefer)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Canola oil for frying
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil (you can also use fresh basil, it would be about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic.

Instructions:

  1. Pat the calamari rings dry with a paper towel.
  2. In a bowl whisk together egg and milk to make an egg wash.
  3. In a large plastic resealable bag combine flour, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and cornstarch and shake to combine.
  4. Dip the calamari rings into the egg and then put them in the bag with the flour. Shake bag to lightly coat calamari.
  5. In a large sauce pan add oil until you have about 2 inches. Heat over medium heat until oil is hot. (Note: I don't have a thermometer to check the temperature of the oil so when I think its hot I just sprinkle in a little flour and if it sizzles I start frying.) Once the oil is hot, remove the calamari from the bag and shake off any excess flour. Cook calamari in batches until golden brown, about 3 minutes. It is very important not to overcook calamari or it will become rubbery. Remove from the oil, lay on a paper bag and sprinkle with a little kosher salt. Serve hot.
  6. To make the sauce combine mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, basil and garlic and mix well.

A Note: When I first tried to make calamari at home, mine did not get as golden brown as I would like because I was afraid of over cooking it so I cooked it only about 2 minutes at medium-high. I have found that if I cook it at a lower heat for a little longer, 3 minutes or so, it gets golden brown and is still tender on the inside. So there it is, calamari, perhaps my favorite appetizer ever. Give it a try if you haven't and I'm sure you'll like it. Hey it's fried, everything is good fried right? :) Enjoy!

  • Val

    What a great recipe! I love calamari fried like this & your recipe sounds terrific. Thank you for sharing. ;o}

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    Thanks Val! You’re welcome! :-)

  • Chuck

    I bet that lemon Basil dip is perfect for this dish or any fish dish. Looks delicious!

  • Sam

    This looks pretty fantastic! I too love Calamari! We might make this tonight :)

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    Chuck: You know, I haven’t tried the dip with any other fish, but think that you’re right, it would probably be good with lots of fish. Thanks!

    Sam: Thanks! Hope you enjoy it! :)

  • http://www.lifeslashjustine.blogspot.com justine

    instead of frying, could you bake them?

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    I have not tried to bake them before, but after I read your comment I did some research and it looks like you can bake them at a low oven temperature around 180 degrees for about 15 minutes.
    I might have to give this a try. I have had baked calamari once but I think the chef cooked it too long because it was pretty rubbery. Let me know if you try it this way, I’d like to know how it turns out. :)

  • http://www.lifeslashjustine.blogspot.com justine

    OK, thanks!

  • http://gagainthekitchen.blogspot.com gaga

    I loooove calamari! Yum!

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    I am right there with you! Thanks gaga! :)

  • http://www.thatssoyummy.com ThatsSoYummy

    These look really Yummy!!! I love calamari.

    Will have to try these :-)

  • http://www.lifesambrosia.com Deseree

    Thanks ThatsSoYummy! I hope you enjoy them!

  • Ashanti

    Love calamari about to try your recipe more let you know how it turns out

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A little bit about me...

My name is Des. I’m a Mom to Kellan and Preston. Wife to Ryan. Dog mom to Pumpkin and lover of all things food. Whether it is cooking it, eating it, shopping for it or watching TV about it, food is one of my favorite things. Read more »

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