I don’t remember too much about my grandmother, she died when I was still a kid, but one thing I can recall with distinct clarity is her cooking. She was accomplished in Italian American cooking – making sunday sauce and macaroni that was the stuff of legends. I remember one Christmas day where I was sat down at a long table and was served dish after dish of her food until I was stuffed beyond measure. My favorites that day was a fragrant Italian Wedding Soup and fried calamari garnished with lemon wedges and served with a spicy marinara sauce. I often wished I could have learned the secret recipes that have made her food so intrinsic to my memory of her.
This Christmas, thanks to a request by my favorite master chef – my mom – I made fried calamari for Christmas Eve. As much as I would like to say that I felt some ancient Italian connection with my grandmother, I didn’t. However, as I was slicing squid and tossing the little tender white circles in flour with my little sister I felt another tradition was being born, and more importantly I was sharing a moment and a recipe I hope my baby sister can look back on with joy – and with the desire to recreate it herself.
- 1 lb of Calamari
- 1 ½ Cup of all-purpose flour
- ½ Tablespoon of Garlic Powder
- ½ Teaspoon of Salt
- ½ Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
- Vegetable Oil (for frying)
- Lemon Wedges
- In a small bowl, mix together the flour, garlic powder, salt, and oregano.
- Toss/coat calamari in flour mixture.
- In a small pan, heat your vegetable oil – you want the oil to be about 2.5-3 inches high in the pan. You can test the heat of your oil with a grain of rice or a small piece of calamari. The grain of rice/piece of calamari should go straight to the top of the oil and bubbles should collect around it.
- Fry your calamari in batches, being careful not to crowd the pan. Each batch should take two minutes each, as you don’t want to overcook your calamari (which leaves them rubbery and hard). The calamari should be light golden (not dark, like the heavier type found in restaurants).
- Set to cool on a paper towel. Garnish with lemon wedges and serve while still hot. You can also serve alongside your favorite marinara sauce, cocktail sauce, or garlic aioli.