There is no better way to prepare calamari, in our humble opinion, than breading it and frying it. I love to dips the fried calamari rings in a Thai garlic-pepper sauce. This recipe is Tyler Florence’s take on the dish which takes on an Italian personality by utilizing a basic tomato sauce for dipping. Or for a variation try Tyler’s Jalapeño Aioli for dipping.
Rinse the squid under cool water and pat dry with paper towels. Cut the body of the squid into 1/2-inch rings and trim the tentacles as necessary. Combine the milk, egg, and basil leaves in a bowl; mix with a fork until lightly beaten.
Put the prepared calamari in the milk mixture and stick it in the refrigerator while getting everything else set up; it fries better if marinated and chilled for about 15 minutes.
Pour about 2 inches of oil in a fryer or large, heavy pot and heat to 375 degrees F. Mix the flour and paprika in a pie dish or plate; season with a fair amount of salt and pepper. Toss the calamari in the seasoned flour to coat. Fry for 1 to 3 minutes or until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels and salt, to taste. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fried calamari to paper towels to drain. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and dipping sauces.
Smoked Jalapeno Aioli:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend for 1 minute to combine.
Set aside to allow the flavors to marry. Serve as a dipping sauce with fried calamari. Yield: 1 cup.
Coat a saucepan with 2 tablespoons of the oil and warm over medium heat. Add the garlic and basil; cook, stirring, until soft. Add the crushed tomatoes and sugar; season with salt and pepper.
Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining olive oil. Serve as a dipping sauce with fried calamari. Yield: 2 cups.
Recipe by or based on recipe by: Tyler Florence Recipe image by: katiescucina.com Recipe video by: