Recreating a healthy version of Fried Calamari at home.
My favorite 5 non Paleo foods are Caesars salad, hamburgers, fries, pizza and fried calamari.
I’ve played with paleo-izing pizza here. I’ve made my own unfried fries here. My homemade burgers have been served with both Paleo buns and veggie buns. And I’ve even made my own Caesars salad with Paleo croutons (coming to the blog soon).
But the dish I’ve been too intimidated to make was calamari. I’ve never deep fried anything before or worked with calamari. I didn’t know what to expect.
The recipes I researched called for 3 inches of coconut oil but I only used about 1/3 of that amount and they turned out fine. Actually they turned out better than fine. It was the best calamari I ever had, because I was careful not to overcook them.
I’ve always enjoyed the slightly rubbery calamari at restaurants, but after cooking them on high heat for only 1.5 minutes per side (you might want to cook them a little longer if they’re cut thicker than a quarter inch) the calamari turned out buttery and super soft. Who knew that fried calamari could taste even better?
Also, instead of only coconut oil I used a mixture of coconut oil and clarified butter (ghee). Restaurant calamari has a gluten coating and is fried in inflammatory oil, that’s reused. Mine was dredged in arrowroot, almond flour and crushed kale chips and fried in healthy oils.
Working with the squid was not fun. It was slimy to the touch and slippery to cut. But I was able to buy tubes only and leave out the tentacles, which made it less disturbing. And I was surprised at how cheap calamari was at half a pound for under $3. It was also filling enough to feed my husband and I. The same large portion would have cost $20 at a restaurant.
The trick is making the calamari in small batches (I made 3 batches) instead of crowding them in the pan. Sample the calamari as you cook it so you don’t overcook.
It felt amazing to succeed at this dish on the first try. How empowering to make a healthy, cheap version of my favorite splurge food!
If you like calamari, but are intimidated like me, fear not. It’s pretty easy, low cost and super tasty. You won’t regret it.
1/2 pound of calamari
1 pastured egg
1/4 cup of ghee and 1/4 cup of coconut oil (feel free to use more if you want to cover the calamari in oil)
Crushed Dairy-free, nut cheese flavored kale chips (you can use shredded coconut instead for texture)
1/4 cup of blanched almond flour
Spices: salt, paprika, cayenne, oregano
1/4 cup of arrowroot
Cut calamari into thin tubes with a sharp knife.
First dredge the calamari in arrowroot flour. You can put the flour in a plate or a plastic baggy, whichever seems easier.
Then dredge the calamari in the scrambled egg.
Add spices to the almond flour and mix in. Finish dredging in the kale chips (or shredded coconut) and almond flour . Or if you have Paleo bread laying around, you can try using the crumbs from it. Toast it first if it’s not dry enough to crumble.
Heat the coconut oil and ghee on high heat and throw in a third of the batch when oil gets hot. Saute each side for 1 to 2 minutes and flip over and saute another 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and plate your calamari. Serve with either a marinara dipping sauce or a garlicy homemade mayo. Or just eat plain with your fingers!
- ½ pound of calamar1
- ¼ cup of clarified butter (ghee)
- ¼ cup of coconut oil
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup of arrowroot
- ⅓ cup of blanched almond flour
- ⅓ cup of shredded coconut flakes or crumbled kale chips
- Paprika, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and dried oregano to taste
- Cut calamari into thin tubes with a sharp knife.
- Add the spices to the almond flour and mix in.
- First dredge the calamari in arrowroot flour.
- Then dredge the calamari in the scrambled egg. Then finish dredging in the mixture of kale chip or shredded coconut and almond flour . Or if you happen to have some Paleo bread laying around, you can try using the crumbs from it. Toast it first if it's not dry enough to crumble.
- Heat the coconut oil and ghee on high heat and throw in a third of the batch when oil gets hot. Saute each side for 1 to 2 minutes and flip over and saute another 1 to 2 minutes.
- You're done. Take out with a slotted spoon and plate your calamari. Serve with either a marinara dipping sauce or a garlic aoli. Or just eat plain with your fingers!