Thursday, May 6, 2010


I spotted some beautiful fresh squid at the shops the other day, and Nigella's Quick Calamari with Garlic Mayonnaise sprang to mind.  I had seen her cook this on the Nigella Express programme and it looked wonderfully easy - so I didn't allow the deep frying bit scare me off, and I bought them.

The boning (cartilaging!) bit was easy, actually quite satisfying, but I managed to make an awful mess cutting the head/eye bit off! I broke the ink sack and it squirted all over the place!!!  I can see why Nigella uses frozen squid.

Anyway the boning, skinning chopping was all accomplished without any more mishaps!  It was then simplicity itself to throw the coating together (through necessity I had to play around with the recipe!)
The frying was easy and not too smelly!!  I used this photo to show that there was very little excess oil.

The calamari was hoovered up by the boys, they loved it.  I tried one (or four!) and can concur, they were nicely crispy on the outside and the squid was beautifully tender (no rubber bands in my kitchen!!!!!)

Nigella calls for "best quality mayonnaise" - I used Hellmann's and it was just fine - I grated a whole (medium sized) clove of garlic into approximately 100g of mayo, and it was perfect.

This is what I did:
To serve two plus a greedy "picker"

Quick Calamari

3             small squid - cleaned, and cut into 1cm rings.
2 tbsp      cornflour
4 tbsp      semolina
1 tsp        smoked paprika
1/2 tsp     ground cumin
pinch        chili powder
1/2 tsp      salt

Half fill a small saucepan with a flavorless oil, and heat up.  It is ready when a piece of bread dropped in sizzles fiercely.
Put all the coating ingredients into a plastic bag and mix.
Add the squid rings and tentacles and toss to coat - I did this in batches.
Again in batches, fry the squid in the sizzling oil, until they are golden and crunchy - this takes very little time.
Remove to a paper towel to drain.
Serve with the garlic mayonnaise and some lemon.



Lucie said...

I am so impressed that you attempted this, the boning bit would have scared me off! I am sure this was so tasty - the mayonnaise sounds lovely too.

Hanaâ said...

First time here. Thanks for following me :o)

I love your calamaris. What a great idea to use semolina. I bet that gives it a nice crunch. My dad taught me to remove the squid's cartilage way back when :o) Too bad I can't put it to practice cuz hubby doesn't like calaramis... :o(

La Bella Cooks said...

I am happy to hear how easy it was. Nigella made it look so very easy but I always wonder when working with deep frying if it will take forever. The garlicky mayo sounds heavenly as well. Glad you all enjoyed it.

Jutta said...

That's the sort of job I get the fishmonger to do. I am sure I would get the ink everywhere too. If it is any consolation, Jamie Oliver got ink everywhere at the market in Venice. So even the best still make mistakes.

Also when I was at Borough Market the fishmonger that did the fish n chips demonstration on St George's Day said that if your oil is hot enought the food will seal on impact and not absorb the oil. You only get oily food if you 'boil' it in oil by adding the food before the oil is hot enough. So if you do it right it is not as bad for you as one would think. Looks like you did a great job!

Maria♥ said...

I've been meaning to try Nigella's recipe cos I LOVE Calamari with garlic mayo! Yours turned out really yummy.


Solange Berchemin of Pebble Soup said...

I never dared to try, but I might just challenge myself after reading your post

Coby said...

I love this recipe (and Nigella's other fried calamari recipe for that matter:)) and make them both often:) I made them yesterday, and agree that the prep of squid is easy, if sometimes a little messy. SO cheap though isn't it?:) If you think of how much *1* single squid ring is at the fish and chip shop, and you can get (depending on size) maybe 14 rings from one hood! Makes sense to make your own:) Glad you're a convert BG:)