Fried Calamari with Puttanesca Dipping Sauce

I am a sucker for perfectly fried calamari. I will literally pick a restaurant based on whether or not they have calamari on the menu. There is just something about the light crisp batter and the tender squid inside. Yes, I know the word squid can be a bit off putting but seriously. It’s good. If you’ve never tried it before, this is the perfect way to ease yourself into it.

With pasta puttanesca, the anchovies are cooked and add an amazing depth of flavor to the sauce. The tomatoes, capers and olives are briny and savory enough for me.
One note on frying calamari: It doesn’t take long at all. I suggest a cooking time of two minutes. If you go too long it gets rubbery.

Fried Calamari with Puttanesca Dipping Sauce



Yield:4 servings

  • 1 pound fresh calamari
  • 2 cups milk
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic hot sauce (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 2 cups flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Puttanesca Dipping Sauce, recipe follows
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Puttanesca Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pitted, diced black olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • A pinch chile flakes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Clean the calamari and cut the bodies into thick rings, reserving the tentacles separately.
  2. Mix the milk and lemon juice in a large bowl. Let rest for 5 minutes until it thickens. Add the garlic hot sauce. Add the calamari and soak in the buttermilk for up to 4 hours.

Meanwhile prepare the sauce ….

Puttanesca Sauce:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, anchovies, olives, capers and tomatoes. Saute for another 5 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and chile flakes. (Add a little water if it’s too thick.) Stir in the parsley and lemon zest.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, paprika and cayenne. Beat the eggs in another bowl.
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Now we continue with the calamari .. yummy!

After 4 hours:

  1. Remove the calamari from the buttermilk and drain. Dip into the beaten egg, and then the flour mixture.
  2. Fill a heavy skillet with 2 cups vegetable oil and heat over medium-high heat to 360 degrees F, or set a deep fryer to 360 degrees F. Fry the calamari, in batches, until brown and crispy, about 4 minutes. Place on a plate and pat dry any excess oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve with the Puttanesca Dipping Sauce and lemon wedges. Enjoy!!!!

Fried Calamari with Puttanesca Dipping Sauce

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