🇪🇸 En español: Calamares crujientes y gambas
This crispy squid and prawns tapas recipe from Jamie Oliver is a great addition to any tapas spread.
You can use shop-bought chilli sauce or a dipping sauce, but give the homemade sauce in the recipe a go, it has some real kick!
The following tips from themediterraneandish, especially the soaking in salted milk really improve the texture of the squid.
5 Tips for the best crispy fried calamari recipe
- Do not cut the calamari rings too thinly. I cut my squid tubes into ¾-inch thick rings, which extends the cooking time long enough for the flour coating to brown and crisp up nicely, while making sure that the calamari is tender on the inside.
- Soak the rings in a solution of salted milk for 30 minutes (refrigerated) before cooking. I shared this earlier, but this is the trick to tenderizing the calamari meat and it also helps tame the fishy taste.
- For crispy fried calamari, coat the rings in a mixture of flour, cornstarch, and baking powder! You’ll get a golden-brown, crispy exterior on the tender squid rings.
- Once coated in the flour mixture, allow the squid rings a few short minutes to sit in a colander before frying. This allows the flour to rehydrate so that the coating does not fall off the calamari when fried. This will happen naturally anyway as you wait for the oil to heat, and you will be frying the calamari in batches which will allow enough time for the coating to stick.
- Manage the heat of your cooking oil. Heat the oil to somewhere between 350 and 365 degrees F before cooking the calamari. The more common problem with oil temperature is that it is often too low and the calamari will absorb too much of the oil and become too soggy or chewy. And if the oil is too hot, the outside will burn before the inside is cooked properly. So that is why it is important to manage the oil heat.
An oil thermometer is helpful here, but if you do not have a thermometer, how do you know if the oil is ready for frying? To test, drop just one calamari ring in the oil, lots of gentle bubbles should form around it immediately and the calamari and bubbles begin to float to the top.
A Deep Fryer is Best
For best results, instead of an oil-filled pan, I use a countertop deep fryer like this one from (affiliate link)Amazon.
The most important benefit of deep oil fryers is the ability to control the oil temperature accurately. This takes away all the guesswork and gives consistent results.
Crispy Squid and Prawns with Homemade Chilli Sauce
- (affiliate link)Deep Fat Fryer
For the Squid and Prawns
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- 4 Whole large squid prepared, with tentacles
- 16 Large prawns shell off and butterflied (tail on)
- 2 Limes
- 100 g Plain flour plus extra for dusting
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 Lemon cut into wedges
For the Sauce
- 20 Fresh chillies (different colours)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 220 g Caster sugar
- White wine vinegar
To Make the Sauce
- Start by making the sweet chilli sauce: finely chop the chillies, keeping some seeds intact, then peel and finely chop the garlic.
- Place the sugar and 1 cup of cold water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the chillies, garlic, a good pinch of salt and a good splash of vinegar, then cook over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it coats the back of a spoon. For a smooth syrupy texture, whiz the sauce in a food processor if you like, or leave it finely chopped, then put to one side.
To Make the Crispy Squid and Prawns
- Place a deep-fat fryer or a large, deep saucepan over a medium–high heat (roughly 180ºC). Fill three-quarters full with vegetable oil and leave to heat up.
- Meanwhile, wash and pat dry the squid. Slice the tubes horizontally into rings or slice and open them out, then halve lengthways and cut a crisscross pattern onto the surface. Place the squid onto a large plate, along with the prawns, making sure any black bits have been removed. Finely grate over the zest of the limes and squeeze over most of the juice, then toss to coat.
- Place the flour and a good pinch of salt and pepper into a large bowl, then add the squid and prawns and toss to coat (you’ll need to do this in batches).
- To test if the oil is hot enough, drop a piece of bread into the pan – if the bread floats to the surface, sizzles and turns golden, it’s about right. Using a slotted spoon, carefully lower the prawns and squid into the hot oil and fry for 3 to 4 minutes, or until golden and crisp on the outside and cooked through (you’ll need to do this in batches). Transfer the cooked prawns and squid to a double-layer of kitchen paper, then repeat with the remaining seafood.
- When the last batch of seafood is almost done, squeeze a little lime juice over the parsley sprigs, then dip into the flour and lower into the oil for a few seconds – be careful as it’ll spit.
- Serve the crispy squid and prawns straight away, with crispy lime-spiked parsley, lemon wedges for squeezing over and the sweet chilli sauce on the side for dipping. Keep any leftover chilli sauce in sterilised bottles and store for up to 2 months in a cool dry place.