Fried chicken, onion rings, fried shrimp, fried calamari… these are a few of the things that threaten to disappear when you go gluten-free. But, with a little hot oil, and a little practice, you can welcome these treats back into your life. Tonight I tried my hand at calamari. I had never cooked squid before or deep-fat fried anything so I was a little intimidated. Luckily, when you fry squid, you work in batches, which means that I was able to refine my technique. The first handful of squid absorbed too much oil (because the oil wasn’t hot enough), the second handful became rubbery (because I let them cook for the full 2 minutes suggested by the recipe). But the third batch was perfect. The key was, to make sure the oil was hot enough before adding the squid, and to cook for approximately 45 second. Now, I bought my squid already cleaned and cut into rings, which happened to be very small. For larger squid rings, 1-2 minutes is probably perfectly appropriate, so you might need to play a little with the timing.

Crispy Calamari (adapted from Nigella Express)

Nigella claims that she can eat a pound of calamari in one sitting. I can’t. So if I make this again I will use a more modest amount of squid. This should serve 4 as an appetizer.

1 pound squid, cleaned, and cut into rings.
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
1 cup peanut oil

1. Heat oil to 375 degrees in a small (but hopefully tall) saucepan.
2. In a ziplock storage bag combine cornmeal, cornstarch, and seasonings.
3. Add squid and shake until coated.
4. Working in batches fry the squid. If your squid is small, it could be done in 35-40 seconds. If it is larger, it could take as long as 2 minutes. If you overcook squid it will be rubbery.