Go to any American bar or restaurant and 9 times out of 10, you will see calamari on the appetizer menu. Fried battered calamari with a fresh squeeze of lemon is an easy to prepare snack that will please almost anyone. This version is a little different, marinating the calamari in buttermilk and frying them in seasoned flour. Instead of marinara sauce or tartar sauce, this buttermilk fried calamari is served with lemon aioli, tart, creamy and the perfect sauce for this appetizer. Planning a girls night, bbq, or just a casual dinner at home? Whip these up in no time and they’re sure to be a crowd pleaser!
- 1/3 cup mayo
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- dash of tabasco
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb calamari, bodies sliced into 1/2 inch rings, tentacles left whole
- 1 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- oil for frying
- chopped parsley for garnish
- lemon wedges to serve
- Prepare lemon aioli by whisking together mayo - tabasco. Season with salt and pepper.
- Soak calamari in buttermilk for 20-30 minutes.
- Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
- Combine flour with seasonings from paprika - red chili flakes.
- Dredge calamari in seasoned flour, tossing evenly to coat. Carefully drop a handful of the calamari into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and transfer to a paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining calamari.
- Sprinkle parsley on top. Serve with lemon wedges and lemon aioli.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
You really can’t go wrong with this simple recipe for buttermilk fried calamari. Simply marinate, coat in seasoned flour and fry! Why use the buttermilk? The acidity in the buttermilk helps keep the calamari tender and helps create a lighter, crispier batter. No need for egg, or breadcrumbs, just a little seasoned flour and you’re ready to fry. When frying, make sure to fry only a handful at a time. Overcrowding the fryer will result in clumpy, greasy calamari – no one wants that! Finish the dish with fresh parsley, a squeeze of lemon and a side of lemon aioli. Easy, delicious and a crowd pleaser – what else can you ask for!