Fried calamares continues the theme of easy recipes for reef fresh seafood at beach side markets. The day I purchased the live shrimp in Batangas in my previous post, I also bought a kilo of small to medium sized squid for PHP130 a kilo (highway robbery, I know, but it was a holiday weekend and I am the equivalent of a target tourist who should be fleeced). For dinner that evening, I decided to make a very simple appetizer of calamares (fried squid) served with a tomato salad dressed with a basil vinaigrette.
To make, clean the squid (pull out the â€œboneâ€ and rinse the insides really, really well). Cut off the ink sack and heads but use the tentacles as well. Peel the squid (pain in the neck, I know but a necessary step), rinse again and dry very well with paper towels. Slice the squid bodies into rings that are about Â¼ inch thick. Heat up a small pan and add vegetable oil to about 2 inches in depth and put over a high flame. When the oil is hot, coat the squid rings and tentacles in seasoned breadcrumbs (breadcrumbs, chopped fresh or dried oregano, salt, pepper) and put into the hot oil in small batches. Do not bread all the squid at once as it will get soggy. Cook the squid for just a minute or so or until it floats to the surface and has some color. Remove immediately and dry on paper towels and do the next batch. The crust should be crisp and light golden brown. The squid inside should be tender and not overly chewy. Overcooking will toughen the squid.
I served the calamares with wedges of lemon. In addition, a side dish of chopped yellow and red tomatoes with a vinaigrette and a chiffonade of basil leaves was a nice foil for the fried squid. I didnâ€™t cook the whole kilo of squid but if I did it would have easily served 8 adults with generous portions.