Fried Calamari with Classic Spicy Tomato Sauce

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Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

What could feel more like summer than a platter of fried calamari dipped in a deliciously rich tomato sauce?

1 lb. fresh calamari, cleaned and rinsed
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons paprika
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
½ cup whole milk
Vegetable oil for frying
Lemon wedges for serving
Classic Red tomato sauce for dipping


Dry the squid thoroughly on paper towels. Cut off the tentacle cluster and then cut the mantle into ½ inch thick rings. Add the flour to a medium bowl, mix in the paprika and season with salt and pepper. Add the milk to a second bowl.

Pour enough oil into a heavy large saucepan to reach the depth of 3 inches. Heat the oil over high until it reaches 350°F. Working in batches, dip the squid into the milk and then into the flour before carefully lowering into the oil. Be sure to use a splatter screen as the oil has a tendency to pop with this mixture, even after drying off the squid! As soon as each batch has turned golden brown (about 1-2 minutes), transfer to paper towels to drain. Once they are all fried, season calamari with salt.  Serve on a platter with lemon wedges and Classic Spicy tomato sauce for dipping.

Melissa Vitelli