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Quick Calamari With Garlic Mayonnaise

by . Featured in NIGELLA EXPRESS
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Introduction

Strange though it might sound, this is another of my supper-standbys. I keep the frozen squid in the deep freeze, taking it out in the morning at breakfast to let it thaw in time for the evening's meal. I prefer to eat a massive amount of this, and nothing else, rather than have it more meanly as a starter, unless I'm expecting company, in which case it can happily stretch to four people, ready to dunk each crisp piece of squid into the garlic mayonnaise over pre-dinner drinks.

Strange though it might sound, this is another of my supper-standbys. I keep the frozen squid in the deep freeze, taking it out in the morning at breakfast to let it thaw in time for the evening's meal. I prefer to eat a massive amount of this, and nothing else, rather than have it more meanly as a starter, unless I'm expecting company, in which case it can happily stretch to four people, ready to dunk each crisp piece of squid into the garlic mayonnaise over pre-dinner drinks.

Quick Calamari With Garlic Mayonnaise
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: 2 as main, 4 as starter

Metric Cups

For the Calamari

  • 250 millilitres groundnut oil (or as needed depending on size of pan)
  • 500 grams frozen squid (tubes and tentacles)
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 4 tablespoons semolina
  • 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning (or use 1 teaspoon salt & 1 teaspoon Paprika)

For the Garlic Mayonnaise

  • ½ clove garlic
  • 100 grams best-quality mayonnaise (preferably organic)

For the Calamari

  • 1 cup peanut oil (or as needed depending on size of pan)
  • 1 pound frozen calamari (tubes and tentacles)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons semolina
  • 2 teaspoons old bay seasoning (or use 1 teaspoon salt & 1 teaspoon Paprika)

For the Garlic Mayonnaise

  • ½ clove garlic
  • ½ cup best-quality mayonnaise (preferably organic)

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a smallish saucepan and, while it's left to warm up, cut the thawed squid into 1cm/half inch rings.
  2. Put the cornflour, semolina and seasoning into a plastic freezer bag.
  3. Add the squid rings and tentacles and then toss to coat.
  4. When the oil is hot enough, which is when it sizzles up fiercely when you drop in a small cube of bread, fry the squid in batches to get the most golden crunchiness. A couple of minutes per batch is all you should need.
  5. Grate or crush the garlic into the mayonnaise, stir to mix, and then serve alongside the fried squid.
  1. Heat the oil in a smallish saucepan and, while it's left to warm up, cut the thawed squid into 1cm/half inch rings.
  2. Put the cornstarch, semolina and seasoning into a plastic freezer bag.
  3. Add the squid rings and tentacles and then toss to coat.
  4. When the oil is hot enough, which is when it sizzles up fiercely when you drop in a small cube of bread, fry the squid in batches to get the most golden crunchiness. A couple of minutes per batch is all you should need.
  5. Grate or crush the garlic into the mayonnaise, stir to mix, and then serve alongside the fried squid.

Tell us what you think

What 11 Others have said

  • I cooked this for Christmas lunch and it was sooo delicious, I fried up another batch for Boxing Day. I've also used Cajun seasoning with the corn flour and semolina and it was lip-smackingly good! I have also used this recipe for prawns and now have a new favourite!

    Posted by anakhla on 3rd January 2016
  • What is groundnut oil? In the states, we have nut oils, such as walnut, peanut, and so forth. Is this what it is?

    Posted by Leezer on 4th May 2011
  • So quick, so easy, so amazingly delicious. Nigella, you're the best. http://ruminator.co.nz/quick-calamari-with-garlic-mayonnaise/

    Posted by kimcooksforyou on 5th March 2014
  • Great, I now have a litre of overpoweringly squid scented cooking oil.

    Posted by lapin-rouge on 7th December 2013
  • Very simple and tasty, Calamari remains crunchy and only takes minutes. Highly recommend this recipe will be doing this again..

    Posted by GAILG on 4th October 2013
  • Dear Nigella, I tried today at lunch the quick calamari & garlic mayonnaise, it was delicious, quick and my daughter loved it!! I will make sure I keep frozen calamari in the freezer just in case I get sudden visitors!! Thanks, I love your recipes!! Pauline (Athens/Greece)

    Posted by PaulineK on 2nd September 2012
  • We have made this several times - excellent results. It has been a main for lunch and also a starter before grilled fish. Love this decadent treat.

    Posted by TinaMarie on 15th August 2012
  • I make this regularly, with either fresh or frozen calamari. Serve it with some sort of salad in summer. I live in South Africa so summer lasts quite a while!!

    Posted by Suefry on 9th May 2012
  • I really love Calamari and this recipe sounds fantastic, the only problem is I can't find frozen squid ANYWHERE, so I was wondering where Nigella bought hers. Thanks.

    Posted by Neally on 29th June 2011
  • Delicious!!!!! My kids love this! It's such a great starter and meal in itself. Thanks, Nigella.

    Posted by marissa12 on 6th May 2011
  • Nigella, you are sooooo a hedonist after my own heart, and this delicious recipe only goes to prove it. I can think of nothing better than feasting on massive amounts of calimari. Thanks!

    Posted by Ragini Werner on 4th May 2011
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