Fried Calamari & Sugo

Fried Calamari & Sugo Photo: Tim Elwin

Fried Calamari & Sugo
Photo: Tim Elwin

So simple, yet so bloody delicious. And depending on your time and available ingredients you can simply choose between the shortcut 'Easy Way' for a quick weeknight meal or 'The best Way' for an impressive starter. Plus it's also super cheap.

Using the corn flour to dust the calamari ensures the outside becomes crispy without any stodgy, heavy batters that is too often delivered in restaurants and bars.

Serves 2 as entree or bulk it out with a little cooked pasta for a weeknight meal.

Ingredients - The Best Way

Ingredients - The Easy Way

  • 600g (1.4lb) Whole Calamari, gutted, skinned and cleaned then either;
    • Legs removed and body cut into rings or
    • Legs removed and body cut to open flat, crisscross scored then cut into 1inch x 2inch pieces
  • 100ml (3oz) of Simple Homemade Sugo (recipe here)
  • 2-3 litres of good quality Vegetable Oil (such as sunflower oil)
  • Tablespoon of Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 x ¼ Lemon wedges for serving
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)
  • 300gms (.6lb) Fresh Calamari Rings, otherwise defrosted Frozen Calamari. (you can also use squid as well but calamari is more tender)
  • 100ml (3oz) of Store Bought Sugo (such as Mutti's Inventa Sugo. See recipe notes)
  • 1 Cup Corn or Rice Flour (worst case, plain flour)
  • 2-3 of litres of good quality Vegetable Oil (such as sunflower oil)
  • Tablespoon of Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 x ¼ Lemon wedges for serving
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

Method - For Both Ways

Heat the vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 190°C (375°F).

Warm through the sugo (whichever one you are using) in a small pot and keep on a low heat.

Pat dry your calamari with a kitchen cloth or paper towel. (if it's wet then too much flour will bind to the outside).

Once the oil has come to temperature, place the flour into a medium sized bowl and add a few pieces of calamari at a time, dusting all over then shaking off any excess flour.

Fry the calamari in 2 to 3 batches for 1-2 minutes until they become a light golden brown colour.  (See recipes notes re cooking times etc)

Drain the cooked pieces of calamari preferably on a wire rack or otherwise on some paper towelling or kitchen cloth.

Place a few spoonfuls of the warm sugo into a shallow bowl or plate, place a 5-6 pieces of the calamari on top, then scatter with the parsley and salt, then if you like you can drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the top.

EAT.

RECIPE NOTES

SUGO: You can use any store pasta sauce as long as it's light and fresh in flavour. A heavy herb based and concentrated tomato flavour won't work with this dish...

COOKING TIMES: If it's taking longer than 2 minutes it's most probably because your oil is not hot enough or you have added too much calamari into the oil which has dropped the temperature. if this is happening, reduce the volume of calamari and cook in smaller batches.

DRAINING CALAMARI: Draining/resting the calamari on a rack will ensure that air can get underneath it which will keep the outside crisp. this works for all fried foods.

 

© Tim Elwin 2015