Until a few years ago I had never tasted calamari. Growing up in the Midwest, fresh seafood was pretty scarce, and the thought of eating "squid" would have made me cringe, so, I was a little nervous the first time I tried these little rings. Fortunately they had been prepared in a light tempura batter and quickly fried to ensure they were not overcooked, and they were delicious. (That is the main secret to preparing calamari, don't overcook it or the rings will be rubber bands.)
Since calamari has become so common on restaurant menus, I was looking forward to cooking some at home. When I spotted calamari on sale at our local fish market, that was just the incentive I needed to give it a try.
For our Calamari Po'Boy Sandwiches we used a double batter. First the rings are coated in cornmeal, then dipped in an egg wash before being lightly coated in Italian seasoned breadcrumbs. The result is a crispy coating that cooks fast and doesn't taste heavy. We used a wok to fry the rings and it worked great to keep the oil at an even temperature, even when cooking multiple batches.
To add a little extra flavor to our Po'Boys we added a few goodies from our garden, a layer of fresh basil leaves and a spoonful of marinated cucumbers. The cucumbers, with a nice cool sauce, added a delicious contrast to the calamari and all we needed to finish the sandwich was a drizzle of homemade sriracha sauce.
The calamari rings were so good my hubby even made his own snacks while he was waiting for dinner. A piece of calamari, a slice of cucumber, a little basil leaf and a generous drop of sriracha, and he was a happy man. Enjoy!!
2 large Cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp Salt
Pinch of Black Pepper
1 TB Minced Chives
1 cup Sour Cream
1-1/2 TB Lemon Juice
In a medium glass bowl combine all ingredients, stirring to evenly coat the cucumbers. Chill for at least 20 minutes before serving.
Fried Calamari Rings
1 lb Calamari Rings
1/4 cup Yellow Cornmeal
2 Eggs, beaten
1 cup Italian Breadcrumbs
Canola Oil for Frying
Whole Sandwich Buns or Hoagie Rolls
Fresh Basil Leaves, washed
Sriracha Sauce, optional
In a large deep pot, or a wok works great if you have one, heat the oil until very hot and shimmering.
Coat the calamari rings in the cornmeal, shaking off any excess breading. Then dip the rings in the eggs, then into the breadcrumb mixture. Again, shake off excess breading and lay the rings on a baking sheet.
Carefully drop the rings into the hot oil and cook until golden brown, about 1 - 2 minutes. Remove the rings with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.
Place a layer of the basil leaves on the bottom bun, followed by a layer of cucumbers and finally several calamari rings. A drizzle of sriracha sauce on top adds a little extra spice. Enjoy!!