This Italian Fried Calamari is made with buttermilk, flour, paprika, chili powder and fried to perfection. These Fried Calamari are paired with a Lemon Aioli made with just two ingredients, lemon and mayonnaise. So simple, don’t you think?
This fried calamari is soaked in buttermilk for 30 minutes and then dredged in the flour spice mix and fried till golden brown. It is such a great appetizer option that is even better than what you would get at a restaurant. Let me tell you though, maintaining the temperature at 375°F is absolutely essential and is what will give the calamari the best taste. You will NEED a candy thermometer for this.
You can buy the squid fresh at the seafood market or buy them frozen. Grocery stores usually sell frozen calamari rings, which work perfectly. This recipe works best with both the bodies and the tentacles, but if you can only find rings, that will work just fine.
How to make Italian Fried Calamari
Add vegetable oil in a large heavy pot on medium heat until the candy thermometer registers 375°F. It is highly recommended to use a candy thermometer.
Place the squid in the buttermilk and let it sit in the refrigerator for up to 30 minutes.
For the lemon aioli, combine the mayonnaise and lemon juice. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour and spices.
Working in batches, toss the squid in the flour until fully coated.
Once all the squid is coated in flour, shake off excess flour and fry a handful of squid at a time.
Fry until golden, about 2-4 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove the calamari from the fryer and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Season with salt.
Serve with lemon aioli.