Fried Calamari with Marinara has always been a favorite of The Loon and me. I’ve noticed that even people who say they absolutely don’t like seafood (a notion I can’t comprehend), still seem to love fried calamari with marinara. The squid, with tentacles attached are kind of, well, I don’t know, weird, if you’re making this for the first time…but add the seasoned coating, toss in hot oil for a quick fry, and serve with easy-to-make marina, you’ll be so happy. These are as good as you’ll get in your favorite restaurant. Totally Loon Approved!
Fried Calamari With Marinara
FOR THE MARINARA
- 2 tbsp good-quality olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 & 1/2 cups crushed plum tomatoes canned are fine
- 3 tsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp or more, to taste red pepper flakes
FOR THE CALAMARI
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup yellow corn meal medium stone ground works very well
- 3/4 tsp sea salt or Kosher, if you can't find sea salt
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 lb squid calamari, cleaned
- Lemon wedges for serving
- MAKE THE MARINARA:
- In a saucepan, heat the olive oil and then add the garlic over medium-low heat until the garlic softens and is fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of the oregano, and the red pepper flakes.
- Increase the heat to medium, and bring to a simmer.
- Return the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and set aside (still covered).
- MAKE THE CALAMARI:
- Heat your deep fryer to 350 F, or pour vegetable oil to a depth of 3 inches into a large skillet. Heat to 350 F.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200 F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, salt, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.
- Cut the squid bodies crosswise into 1/4-inch wide rings and leave the tentacles whole (you may need to cut off extra long tentacles).
- Toss 1/3 of the calamari in the flour mixture to coat evenly, shaking off the excess.
- In 3 batches, carefully add the coated squid to the hot oil and deep-fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked calamari to a wire rack on top of baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you coat and fry the remaining squid.
- Once all calamari is cooked, spoon the marinara into individual dipping bowls.
- Transfer the fried calamari to a platter with lemon wedges, and marinara on the side.