How To Make Fried Calamari

How to Make Fried Calamari - an easy calamari recipe with amazing, tasty results! |

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.

How to Make Fried Calamari - an easy calamari recipe with amazing, tasty results! |

Fried Calamari
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  1. 1 lb of Calamari
  2. 1 ½ Cup of all-purpose flour
  3. ½ Tablespoon of Garlic Powder
  4. ½ Teaspoon of Salt
  5. ½ Teaspoon of Dried Oregano
  6. Vegetable Oil (for frying)
  7. Lemon Wedges
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, garlic powder, salt, and oregano.
  2. Toss/coat calamari in flour mixture.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
The NYC Talon
Done correctly, this recipe yields perfect, crispy, light calamari. The calamari itself is tender and has a sweet briny, and subtle buttery flavor. If you’re serving a crowd I recommend picking up extra calamari as this is sure to be a hit. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can slice up some sweet Italian peppers – quickly fry them and serve them with your calamari.


Just for the calamari…

I’ve tried to write this post at least three times already, so instead of going the “writerly” route – which after an exhausting week of running around for work and school projects, just isn’t working for me right now – I’m just going to be as bare bones as possible with this post. This Friday my sisters and I traveled over to Yonkers to try out a restaurant – Zuppa. We had bought a LivingSocial voucher, so we figured with overages lunch for three wouldn’t be too bad. The restaurant sounded sort of snazzy (based on it’s website and reviews), so we three raided each others closets to pick out our best business-wear appropriate for us ladies who lunch.

On arrival, we were led into the dining area – which was almost cavernous, but not quite. It’s one of those spaces that have high ceilings but is still on the smaller side. My sister loved the feel and artwork of the place. I, on the other hand, almost felt like Zuppa seemed more like a pop-up restaurant than a Yonkers staple.


We all ordered the Prefisso or Prefix – the three course lunch special. My sisters both ordered the Crostino, while I went for the Calamari. The calamari was far and away the best calamari I’ve had in years – yes, years! I would come back to Zuppa again and again just for the calamari alone. The calamari was crisp, yet light, and bursting with flavor. Served with a spicy marinara, both of my girls agreed that this was a brilliant dish.


The crostino, though plated prettily, was disappointing – house smoked ricotta, orange segment, and bitter greens on grilled/toasted bread – I tried my sisters crostini and they were mostly burnt, the house smoked ricotta was creamy but largely lacking in flavor.


Next was the second course – I had the Salmone; grilled salmon, pesto, roasted potato, fagiolini, and moscato wine vinegar – the salmon was slightly overcooked, but the flavor of the pesto and crispness of the roasted potatoes were nice. My sisters ordered the Spaghettini and the Cavatelli. I would have preferred either of theirs to my salmon. Zuppa nailed it with cooking the pasta perfectly al dente – which is a big deal to us Italians y’know ;). The Cavatelli, with smoked ricotta, pasta, speck, and crunchy radicchio, was loaded with flavor. Deliciously creamy with the speck lending great bacon-y flavor to the dish. The spaghettini was simple, shoestring pasta, sun dried tomato pesto, and mushroom. I love the flavor and simplicity of the dish – I just wouldn’t pay $24 or even $15 for it for lunch.


For dessert the girls had the seasonal gelati trio – which happened to be Basil, Ligonberry, and Pumpkin. I had the Honey Jameson Pannacotta garnished with honeycomb and a rice crispy treat. They were all delicious and a sweet ending to our meal.


All in all, our little lunch outing came out to $46 (including tax & tip) in addition to the value of the voucher ($60). If you decide to stop by Zuppa, please be advised, the sparkling (seltzer) water that they offer you is not complimentary and at lunch is $6 a bottle – which they didn’t tell us, nor was it indicated on the menu – until we saw the charge on the receipt. I thought that was rather shady of them as it was offered as an alternative to water and the waiter kept returning to refill our glasses and empty our bottle of sparkling water without our request. That being said, the staff was friendly enough, and didn’t give us any issues with our voucher. While there were some highlights to the meal (calamari, and cavatelli) I have to – with reluctance – admit that the meal wasn’t was I was hoping it would be. A meal at a restaurant should never be a case of choosing between what’s good and what’s flavorless. This was a case of dressing up for a meal that doesn’t dress up for you.

If you’ve been to Zuppa, let me know what your experience was like! If you haven’t, what’s one of your most memorable dining experiences?

Either way, I still plan on returning to Zuppa, even if just for the calamari…

Zuppa Restaurant & Lounge

59 Main St, Yonkers, NY 10701

(914) 376-6500

*P.S. All pictures were taken with my new Nokia Lumia 635 – which is pretty awesome for snapping pics in dimly lit settings IMHO! Plus, I didn’t have to lug around my DSLR!


Restaurant Review: Dinner at Grace’s Trattoria

I recently had the pleasure of joining Grace Balducci Doria as well as key members of her staff for a press tasting of some exciting dishes on their menu. Having never been to Grace’s before I was completely blown away with how delicious the items on their menu were and am really looking forward to the next time I return! To see a complete recap/review of my whole experience as well as plenty of pictures click on over to From Val’s Kitchen where the full article is!


If you live in or visiting NYC, I highly recommend that you stop by Grace’s Trattoria!

Grace’s Trattoria
201 E 71st St, New York, NY 10021
(212) 452-2323