Le sigh. I love calamari. Really anything deep-fried is pretty delicious (excluding Twinkies, yuck). Sadly, deep-fried deliciousness has the unfortunate property of being really really bad for you… most of the time. But since when do I let a few ingredients stop me from enjoying my favorite foods? Answer: Never if possible, and so I bring you: SURF & SURF – squid prepared in two different ways, super easy to make and definitely just as tasty as the stuff you eat at that bar you like, but with none of the guilt!
Note: Please bear with me as I try to master my new-ish camera and stop hating food photography.
1/2 lb squid, tubes and arms/tentacles
1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour
2 Thai chili peppers, stems removed
2 tsp red pepper flakes
2 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1 tsp hot paprika
~ 1.5 cups olive oil
Place all of the squid tubes and tentacles in a medium-sized bowl and cover with cold water. Allow to soak while you prepare everything else.
In another small bowl, combine the chickpea flour, salt, pepper, and paprika. Mix well to spread seasoning evenly throughout the flour.
In a medium-large shallow pot, or a deep pan, combine the oil, red pepper flakes, and whole Thai chilies (just removed the top with the stem) – don’t turn the stove on yet, I just found it easier to do it all in the pan rather than having an extra bowl to wash.
Put a paper towel on a large plate and remove each piece of squid one at a time, rinse again under cold water, and put on the paper towel to dry. I would really recommend doing it this way and not just dumping the water from the bowl, I feel like they were much cleaner after doing this (based on what was left in the bowl) than if I had just dumped the water and left the sand particles/loose suckers, etc behind.
Using a sharp knife, cut the tubes into 1/2″ rings and set them aside. I mostly left the arms as-is and only cut off the two very long tentacles so that the arms were all the same length. Now you can turn on the stove – heat the oil and peppers on medium-high until it reaches about 350*F. I was a little scared to stick my meat thermometer in there, but I did get splashed a little and it really hurt so I took that as being close enough to 350*.
Part I: Tubes
Gently coat the tube rings in a thin layer of the chickpea flour mixture and carefully drop into the oil. Fry until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Be careful NOT TO OVERCOOK THE SQUID or it will taste and feel like rubber, and might bounce off the wall. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a clean paper towel on a plate to drain. (I initially used tongs to remove the calamari from the oil, but it seems to remove some of the flour “shell” so I think a slotted spoon would be better.)
Part II: Tentacles
Lightly season the tentacles with salt and pepper and carefully drop into the oil. Fry until opaque, being careful not to overcook, about 2-3 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
Serve while hot. For a dipping sauce, I just mixed together mayonnaise and Sriracha. Also served with a side of delicious asparagus.