on Nov 07, 2022, Updated Dec 15, 2023
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This easy Calamari is crispy, tender, and simply divine. This recipe is so easy to make, but it does require some TLC. I am super excited to show you my take on them. I know this recipe will become your go-to method. Whether you are celebrating the Feast of the Seven Fishes 🐟 or you just love seafood, this is the recipe for you.
Calamari for Feast of the Seven Fishes
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a special Italian-American 🎄 Christmas Eve tradition, celebrated with a range of seafood dishes. Rooted in the custom of refraining from meat on this holy night, the feast typically features seven different types of 🐟 fish, as a way to symbolize spiritual completeness. You can choose fish dishes from this easy calamari to shrimp to flavorful fish stews, each dish is prepared with love and tradition. My family would gather around the table to savor this seafood celebration, creating lasting memories and honoring both culinary and cultural legacies during the holiday season.
Why You’ll Love Calamari
This easy calamari recipe promises a delicious experience with its rich buttermilk marinade. The perfectly seasoned dredging, versatile cooking options (feel free to use frozen squid rings instead of calamari!), and 🌶️ zesty mayo you can serve it with, add layers of taste and texture to this amazing dish. Whether you opt for a classic fry or a lighter air-fry, the result is a restaurant-quality dish that’s easy to prepare. This easy calamari recipe is sure to become a favorite for its simplicity and delicious result.
How to Prepare Calamari
🥛 Buy buttermilk or make your own by combining milk with vinegar or lemon juice, then letting it curdle for 5 minutes.
🦑 Marinate calamari or squid rings in the buttermilk mixture for at least an hour. You can also buy whole squid and cut it into rings which is always my proffered method.
🥚 Set up a dredging station with seasoned flour, whisked eggs, and breadcrumbs (add Parmesan to breadcrumbs if you’d like).
🍞 Dip each calamari ring in flour, then eggs, and finally breadcrumbs, ensuring they are well-coated.
🔥 Fry the coated rings in hot oil for 2 minutes on each side until golden, or choose to air-fry.
🍋 Serve the calamari rings hot with lemon wedges and a side of spicy mayo. To make spicy mayo, mix any mayo with your preferred hot sauce. Enjoy!
I used squid rings, but I recommend using fresh calamari for better texture.
Variations and Substitutions for Calamari
Feel free to get creative and make the recipe to your taste preferences or dietary needs. As always, don’t forget to tell me in the comments how it goes!
- Instead of using only calamari, you can mix in other seafood such as 🍤 shrimp, scallops, or even white fish.
- Substitute regular flour and breadcrumbs with gluten-free alternatives for a gluten-free version. Be sure that all ingredients of the recipe are gluten-free, including the marinade and any dipping sauces you choose.
- Experiment with variations on the marinade for the calamari. For example, you could add 🌿 herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano to the marinade.
- Instead of traditional frying, you can opt to bake the 🦑 calamari in the oven or air fryer for a healthier alternative. Be sure to adjust the cooking time and temperature accordingly.
Best Served With
- A Simple Green Salad would be a great option.
- A dipping sauce like the spicy mayo I recommend, or you could consider offering other dipping sauces like marinara, aioli, or tzatziki for a different option.
- You could make crusty garlic bread (with my No Knead Peasant Bread) or even breadsticks.
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For this recipe I used frozen squid rings; I defrosted them and patted them dry but please use Calamari if you can find it as it’s more tender.
Yes, feel free to air-fry the calamari in batches at 400F for 6-8 minutes or until golden, and make sure to flip them halfway through. Before frying, spray them on each side with avocado oil spray.
If you are dairy-free, use coconut milk instead for the “buttermilk”.
If you’re shallow frying them make sure the oil is hot and the rings bubble as you place them inside.
- 15 calamari rings , 4 whole fresh squid
- 1 cup buttermilk, or make your own with 1 cup milk + 1 tablespoon vinegar
- salt, pepper, paprika to taste
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 3 whisked eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs , or Italian breadcrumbs
- spicy mayo, mayo mixed with a touch of sriracha
- lemon slices, for garnish
- avocado oil , for shallow frying or avocado oil spray for the air-fryer
- Buy buttermilk at the store or simply make your own by combining 1 cup milk with 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice, gently stir and leave it alone for 5 minutes to curdle.
- Wash the squid, remove the tentacles from the middle and cut it into rings.
- NOTE: if the squid has a gladius (or pen) which looks like a long piece of plastic in it, please discard.
- Once the milk curdles, you can add in the calamari (or squid rings) including the tentacles, and let them sit in the buttermilk to get tender for at least an hour.
- Once tender, you can prepare your dredging station by adding flour to a bowl, whisked eggs to a second bowl, and breadcrumbs to a third bowl.
- Make sure the flour, eggs, and breadcrumbs are seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika to taste. You can even add finely grated parmesan to the breadcrumbs if you wish for extra flavor.
- Dip each ring in the flour (shaking off the excess) then the eggs, then breadcrumbs and continue this step that for each one.
- Get the oil in a pan hot and fry them for 2 minutes on each side until golden. You can also air-fry them as per my notes.
- Enjoy hot with lots of lemon and spicy mayo on the side — to make the spicy mayo just mix any mayo of choice with any hot sauce you like. Enjoy!
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.