Every mother has a secret ‘mom’ fantasy. A personal happy place in her mind she goes to when it all becomes too much. Don’t get it twisted – we love our families. We would die for our children if need be. But after a day full of whining, throw up and tantrums…well, off you go to a daydream about an overnight stay in a 5 star hotel where you can sleep 8-12 hours uninterrupted. When your back is wrenched from picking up toys, shoes and dirty laundry sprawled all over your home….off you go to your happy place – a Fijian spa with cold champagne and a giant bathtub to swim in.
My mom fantasy has always been the same, even before I was a mom. I dream of calamari. Crispy, tender, salty calamari with a dipping sauce I could pour all of my troubles into. Pair it with a pitcher of quality margaritas and it’s a delicious happy hour fantasy. I don’t know why I always I picture this scenario alone. Probably because I would enjoy the solitude but mostly likely because I simply don’t want to share. Who could blame me? Tender pieces of squid fried to a golden perfection in a salty, lemon pepper coating with a sauce you’ll want to dip everything in. No, it’s mine. In fact, I will need another order.
This recipe is perfect as an appetizer/starter or as a main dish if you having a fish fry. Just double up the amount of squid or throw some fish and shrimp into the mix. In my house, the adults happily munch on shrimp and calamari while my little one feasts on her own portion of fish goujons. AND by her ‘own portion’ I mean, she won’t let us have a bite. That’s how good it is.
Tender pieces of squid fried to a golden perfection in a salty, lemon pepper coating with a sauce you’ll want to dip everything in. #calamari #appetizer #seafood #fried #crispy
- 1 cup (120 g) all purpose flour (plus 1–2 tablespoons more for dusting)
- 1/2 cup (60 g) cornstarch
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- the juice of 1 lemon (3-4 tbsp)
- 300 ml (10 oz) of beer
- oil for frying (I use sunflower for this recipe)
- 1–2 large squids
Lemon and Thyme Dipping Sauce
- 1 egg (always make sure you are using good quality fresh eggs)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2–3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup (240 ml) of olive oil (regular olive oil is best as it doesn’t carry with it such a heavy taste like extra virgin olive oil does)
Lemon Pepper Calamari
- Combine flour, cornstarch, salt, onion powder, garlic powder and black pepper together. Mix until evenly combined.
- Slowly whisk in beer and lemon juice. You want it to be thick but still mobile, so try for the consistency of a runny paste.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, while batter is chilling, wash and cut up the squid. Leave the tentacles as long strips and cut the mantle into rings. After prep, keep cold. Seafood has a tendency to spoil quickly in the heat so refrigerate until ready to fry.
- In a deep pot or fryer, heat up oil on high heat for 5-10 minutes. You’ll know when it’s ready to fry when you drop a bit of batter into the water and it bubbles vigorously.
- When oil is hot, dust squid pieces in flour and dip in beer batter. Make sure it is evenly coated in batter.
- CAREFULLY add to hot oil. Make sure it is evenly distributed in the oil to avoid pieces sticking together.
- Fry until golden brown and crispy then remove from oil and drain on paper towels to soak up all that extra grease.
- Serve hot with your favorite dipping sauce.
Lemon and Thyme Aioli
- In a blender, add egg, garlic, thyme leaves, Dijon mustard, salt and lemon juice together.
- Blitz together on high speed until fully pureed.
- With the blender still mixing on high speed, start slowly adding olive oil in a thin strip to the running blender and egg mixture. Keep a watchful eye on it and stop adding olive oil when you see the consistency thicken to a smoother creamier texture. When you see it turn to the consistency that you want, stop adding oil and turn off blender.
- Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat. This can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.
When it comes to seafood, fresh is best You can use frozen squid in a pinch if you want but you may run the risk of it being chewy and rubbery.
- Category: Seafood
- Method: Frying
- Cuisine: Western
Keywords: calamari, squid, lemon pepper, crispy, fried, aioli, thyme, garlic