Spicy and Greasy Rhode Island Calamari
If you think tossing crispy fried squid in a mixture of garlic butter and slices of hot cherry peppers is strange, welcome to Rhode Island! It’s unusual but addictively delicious. In recent years, Rhode Island-style squid has gained popularity as a regional favorite all over New England.
Featured Pinch Tips Video
- 1 lb
- cleaned medium squid (4- to 5-inch), with tentacles
- 3/4 c
- all purpose flour
- 3/4 c
- 1/2 c
- yellow cornmeal
- 2 tsp
- 1/2 tsp
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp
- cayenne pepper
- 6 c
- peanut, canola, or other vegetable oil for deep frying
- 2 c
- 4 Tbsp
- unsalted butter
- 4 large
- cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 c
- sliced hot cherry peppers in vinegar, drained
- 2 Tbsp
- chopped fresh italian parsley
- •a baking sheet
- •4-quart dutch oven
- •deep-frying thermometer or an electric deep fryer
- •chinese wire-mesh skimmer
- •10- to 12-inch sauté pan
- •a pair of tongs
FOR THE FRY MIX:
REMAINING RECIPE INGREDIENTS:
1Cut the squid bodies into ½ -inch rings and put in a colander set over a bowl; add the whole tentacles. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use (up to 6 hours).
2To make the fry mix: Combine the cornstarch, flour, cornmeal, salt, and both peppers in a large bowl and whisk well. Refrigerate if not using within an hour or two, to prevent humidity from changing the mixture.
3Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Heat 3 inches of oil to 360°F in a 4-quart Dutch oven over medium heat or in a deep fryer.
4While the oil is heating, pour the buttermilk into a large bowl and drop the squid into it. Stir with a Chinese wire-mesh skimmer to coat, then lift about half the squid from the buttermilk, allowing the excess buttermilk to drip back into bowl, and drop then into the dry mix. Rinse and dry the wire skimmer. Toss the squid to coat evenly with the mix, then lift them out with the skimmer, gently shake off excess fry mix, and transfer to a plate. Bread the other half of the squid. Rinse and dry the skimmer.
5Heat a 10- to 12-inch sauté pan over medium heat and add the butter. Once it melts, add the garlic and sauté until golden. Add the drained cherry peppers and toss to combine. Turn the heat down to low to keep warm when you fry the squid.
6When the oil is hot, carefully drop half of the squid into the oil. If any of the squid sticks to the bottom of the pot, loosen the pieces with tongs. Turn the squid occasionally so they cook evenly: it will only take about 1 ½ minutes until they are crisp and golden. Transfer the squid from the hot oil to the lined baking sheet. Fry the other half of the squid and drain them.
7Add all of the fried squid to the hot pan with the garlic and sliced peppers, sprinkle with the chopped parsley, and quickly and gently toss (only twice) the squid. Divide among four small plates and serve immediately.
8NOTE: Working Ahead: This squid can be cleaned if necessary and cut in the morning, covered, and refrigerated. The fry mix can also be made early in the day.