Calamari With Spicy Mayo

Calamari With Spicy Mayo

Ah, there’s nothing quite like the delicate taste of calamari! It brings me back to the balmy summer nights I spent exploring the culinary landscape of a little seaside town on the coast of Italy. The sound of the sea, the blend of aromatic spices in the air, and that one unforgettable encounter with a plate of golden-brown calamari served with a zesty, spicy mayo, which was an absolute revelation. It was a culinary delight that inspired me to recreate this delectable dish back home in my own kitchen.

Ingredients:

For the Calamari:

  • 1 pound fresh calamari, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable oil for frying

For the Spicy Mayo:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Garnish (optional):

  • Fresh chopped parsley
  • Lemon wedges

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Calamari:

  • Begin by cleaning the fresh calamari. Rinse it under cold water and remove any remaining innards, membranes, or skin. Pat the calamari dry with paper towels.
  • Cut the calamari into rings or slices, about 1/2 inch wide. Ensure they are similar in size for even cooking.

2. Marinate the Calamari:

  • Place the calamari rings in a bowl and pour buttermilk over them, ensuring they’re fully submerged. Allow the calamari to marinate in the buttermilk for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour. This helps tenderize the calamari and adds flavor.

3. Prepare the Spicy Mayo:

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Adjust the Sriracha sauce according to your preferred level of spiciness. Mix well until all ingredients are fully combined. Set the spicy mayo aside.

4. Coat the Calamari:

  • In a separate bowl, mix the flour, paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.
  • Remove the calamari from the buttermilk marinade, allowing any excess to drip off. Coat the calamari pieces evenly in the seasoned flour mixture, ensuring they are completely coated. Shake off any excess flour.

5. Fry the Calamari:

  • In a deep skillet or frying pan, heat vegetable oil to 350°F (175°C) over medium-high heat.
  • Carefully place the coated calamari rings into the hot oil, ensuring not to overcrowd the pan. Fry in batches if necessary. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the calamari turns golden brown and becomes crispy.
  • Use a slotted spoon or tongs to transfer the fried calamari to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.

6. Serve the Calamari:

  • Arrange the crispy fried calamari on a serving platter. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt while they’re still hot.
  • Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.
  • Present the spicy mayo in a small bowl for dipping alongside the calamari.

7. Enjoy!

  • Dip the crispy calamari rings into the spicy mayo and savor the delightful combination of flavors. Serve as an appetizer or a delicious main course.

Tips:

  • Ensure the oil is at the right temperature before frying the calamari. If the oil is not hot enough, the calamari might become soggy instead of crispy.
  • Do not overcrowd the frying pan when cooking the calamari. Fry in batches for the best results.
  • Adjust the level of spiciness in the mayo by adding more or less Sriracha according to your taste preferences.
  • Fresh calamari works best for this recipe, but if using frozen calamari, ensure it’s properly thawed and pat dry before marinating.

Why should you try this recipe

  1. Delicious Flavor Combination: This recipe combines the tender, crispy texture of fried calamari with the zesty kick of spicy mayo. The contrast between the savory calamari and the creamy, tangy mayo creates a mouthwatering experience.
  2. Versatile Appetizer or Main Course: Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or looking for a unique appetizer, this dish fits the bill perfectly. It can be served as an appetizer for a larger meal or as the star of a smaller gathering. Its versatility makes it a great addition to any menu.
  3. Simple Preparation: Despite its gourmet appeal, this dish is relatively easy to prepare. The steps are straightforward, making it accessible to both novice and experienced cooks. The marinade and spicy mayo can be made in advance, saving time during meal preparation.
  4. Perfect for Seafood Lovers: If you enjoy seafood, trying calamari with spicy mayo is a must. Calamari, when cooked properly, offers a mild and slightly sweet flavor that pairs exceptionally well with the boldness of the spicy mayo. It’s a delightful treat for seafood enthusiasts.
  5. A Crowd-Pleaser: Whether for a family dinner or a social gathering, this dish has a universal appeal. The crispy texture of the calamari alongside the punchy flavors of the spicy mayo is sure to impress and satisfy a variety of palates.
  6. Customizable Spice Level: The spicy mayo can be adjusted according to individual preferences. Whether you prefer a milder taste or crave an extra kick of heat, you can easily tailor the amount of Sriracha to suit your desired level of spiciness.
  7. Restaurant-Quality at Home: Instead of going out to a restaurant, recreate a high-quality calamari dish in the comfort of your own kitchen. Impress your guests or treat yourself to a restaurant-style appetizer without leaving your home.
  8. Fresh and Homemade: Making calamari with spicy mayo at home allows you to use fresh ingredients and control the cooking process. You can ensure the calamari is cooked to perfection and enjoy the satisfaction of serving a homemade dish.

Conclusion,

Trying this recipe for Calamari With Spicy Mayo offers a delightful culinary experience, combining ease of preparation, versatile serving options, and a burst of flavors that cater to various tastes. Whether you’re a seafood lover or simply looking to add a unique appetizer to your menu, this dish promises a deliciously satisfying outcome.

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