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Fried Spanish Calamari Recipe

There is nothing better than traveling the world and discovering new places. Who wouldn’t like to be walking right now on the shore of a beach in southern Spain, on a summer afternoon?

Unfortunately, that’s most likely not your situation right now (don’t be mad, it’s not ours either), but if there are other ways to travel to the places we love, one of them is through food.

If we talk about Andalusian beaches, the food that can take us there immediately is fried calamari. 

closeup with fried calamari rings in a gray bowl and in the background there's a slice of lemon.
Fried Spanish Calamari Recipe

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In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the Spanish calamari recipe, so that you can make it and feel like you are traveling in the comfort of your home.

Background of the Dish

crispy calamari closeup next to a small bowl of white sauce

Andalusia could easily be known as the land of seafood cuisine, as it has a large number of staple recipes, such as the Spanish seafood stew, Gambas al pil pil, and paella.

Despite this large amount, the Spanish calamari recipe manages to persist and coexist with those successful recipes centuries ago. 

This recipe was already cooked in the 16th century in the region’s churches, but with time, it became a popular meal.

From street stalls to beach bars and the most luxurious restaurants, any place that sells food in Andalusia sells fried squid. It is a fan-favorite tapa, so you should try and make it yourself.

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Things You’ll Need for Spanish Calamari Recipe

To make the best calamari recipe, the only ingredient that you cannot miss is squid.

The rest are all replaceable or adjustable according to what you have at home or your personal taste.

four fresh calamari on a wooden table with lemon slices and garlic cloves next to them

Ingredients

  • 1 kg of calamari (approx. 2 or 3 whole calamari)
  • 1 cup (125g) chickpea flour
  • 1 cup (125g) cornstarch
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste

How to Make Spanish Calamari Recipe – Step by Step Guide

making fried calamari recipe in frying oil
  1. To make this fried calamari recipe, the first thing you need to do is to clean the calamari. Pull the tentacles carefully, holding the head with the other hand, to separate them. Open the tentacles and pull the mouth away.
  1. Be sure to remove all the inedible parts, and leave the tentacles alone. Clean them with lots of water. You can avoid these cleaning steps if you buy the squid slices that are sold ready to be fried, the bad part is that they usually aren’t fresh calamari, but they work too.
  1. Mix the two types of flour in a bowl. Salt the calamari to taste.
  1. Put the rings, fins, and tentacles of the squid in the flour, remember that they have to be very dry. With your hands, stir so that all parts of the squid come into contact with the flour. If you want even crispier calamari, then you can make a calamari batter, combining eggs and a splash of milk, but it isn’t the traditional Andalusian way.
  1. Remove excess flour, so shake a bit to remove excess. As you have them ready, put them on a plate.
  1. Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or casserole. If you have a thermometer, check that it reaches a temperature of 180°C. If you do not have a thermometer you can try taking a test one, if it remains floating and bubbles, it has reached the temperature.
  1. It is time to fry, which is key to getting crispy calamari. Fry a little at a time so the oil temperature doesn’t drop, just 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
  1. The final step in this Spanish calamari recipe is to serve them hot and drizzle them with lemon juice.

Substitution of Ingredients

calamari with paprika in a white bowl and next to it there are two glasses with white and red drinks

The best thing about the calamari ring recipes is that you can make several changes to the ingredients, as long as you have the calamari rings ready to be cooked.

For example, you can make this deep-fried calamari, with regular oil instead of olive oil, although that gives it a special Andalusian touch. 

You can also use other seasonings, such as paprika, turmeric, or a larger amount of pepper.

You can also transform it into a healthy calamari recipe, although in that change you must modify the batter for calamari. 

We recommend that you first pass the squid into the egg, then into the flour, and instead of frying them you can cook them in the oven or an air fryer.

Tips on Serving Spanish Calamari Recipe

a sandwich with deep fried calamari and white sauce on a red napkin on a wooden table

This calamari is one of the best Spanish tapas because it can be served as the classic tapas or transformed into the main dish of a meal.

If you serve the calamari with good lettuce, tomato, and onion salad, it is a more than complete meal.

If you are looking for something more fried, then you can make a Picada Andaluza with Spanish clams, fried baby squid, and Cazon in adobo.

This is the best calamari, because it lets the flavors of the seafood shine through, even though you can serve it with dips. 

For example, a creamy onion, tomato sauce, or aioli dip can go great with Spanish calamari.

Another way to serve them is by putting them in a fresh Spanish bread pitufo and make yourself a delicious Spanish sandwich.

How to Store Spanish Calamari Recipe

How to Store Spanish Calamari Recipe
An open fridge with various vegetables and fruits in plastic containers.

Unlike other calamari recipes, it is not recommended that you freeze this dish. You can keep them for up to 4 days after cooking them in the fridge.

You can clean the calamari and freeze it clean for up to 2 months. But once you prepare the fried calamari, it can no longer be frozen because it will have a soggy texture.

When you finish cooking them, you can serve them immediately, or let the calamares fritos, come to room temperature and store them covered on a plate or in a closed container in the fridge.

Recipe Card: Spanish Calamari Recipe

Yield: 6

Spanish Calamari Recipe

closeup with fried calamari rings in a gray bowl and in the background there's a slice of lemon

Who wouldn't like to be walking right now on the shore of a beach in southern Spain, on a summer afternoon?

Unfortunately, that's most likely not your situation right now but if there are other ways to travel to the places we love, one of them is through food.

If we talk about Andalusian beaches, the food that can take us there immediately is fried calamari. 

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 kg of calamari (approx. 2 or 3 whole calamari)
  • 1 cup (125g) chickpea flour
  • 1 cup (125g) cornstarch
  • Olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Lemon juice to taste

Instructions

  1. Clean the calamari. For that, pull the tentacles carefully, holding the head with the other hand, to separate them. Opens the tentacles and pulls the mouth away.
  2. Be sure to remove all the inedible parts, and leave the tentacles alone. Clean them with lots of water. You can avoid these cleaning steps if you buy the squid slices that are sold ready to be fried.
  3. Mix the two types of flour in a bowl. Salt the calamari to taste.
  4. Put the rings, fins, and tentacles of the squid in the flour, remember that they have to be very dry. With your hands, stir so that all parts of the squid come into contact with the flour.
  5. Remove excess flour, so shake a bit to remove excess. As you have them ready, put them on a plate.
  6. Heat olive oil in a deep skillet or casserole. If you have a thermometer, check that it reaches a temperature of 180°C. If you do not have a thermometer you can try taking a test one, if it remains floating and bubbles, it has reached the temperature.
  7. Now you can fry the calamari. Fry a little at a time so the oil temperature doesn't drop, just 1-2 minutes until golden brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb excess oil.
  8. Serve hot drizzled with lemon juice.

Notes

In this calamari recipe, the combination of flours is what helps to have a crispy texture.

If you can't find any of those flours, you can buy the flour that comes already prepared for coating, or add a little panko.

This recipe is designed for the typical calamari ring, but you can make it with squid tentacles, and any other edible part of the fish.

Nutrition Information

Yield

6

Serving Size

1

Amount Per Serving Calories 386Total Fat 7.3gSaturated Fat 0.5gCholesterol 387mgSodium 111mgCarbohydrates 44.2gFiber 6gSugar 4gProtein 31.8g

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