Crispy Fried Calamari with Garlic Aioli

fried calamari, fried squid with lemon

Who can resist summer-by-the-seaside fried calamari? Squid is at the height of its season in midsummer in the Monterey Bay — and a favorite amongst the locals!


1 lb. fresh squid, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch rings*
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons flour or semolina
2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning
2 cups peanut oil (or as needed, depending on the size of pot)
Quick Garlic Aioli, recipe follows*
Lemon wedges, if desired


Heat peanut oil in a 2 quart saucepan or pot.

Combine cornstarch, flour (or semolina) and Old Bay seasoning in a plastic zip-top bag. Add the squid rings and tentacles and then shake and toss to coat.

When the oil is hot enough (which is when the oil sizzles when you drop in a small cube of bread), fry the squid in small batches until lightly golden. A couple of minutes per batch is all it takes. Remove the squid from the oil, place on paper towel lined warmed plate and season with a sprinkle of salt.

Serve calamari warm on a small platter with a few wedges of lemon, garlic aioli or a zippy cocktail sauce.

Quick Garlic Aioli
1 clove garlic, peeled and very finely minced
8 tablespoons best quality mayonnaise

Mince the garlic into the mayonnaise to serve alongside the fried squid.

* If you’d prefer to make your own aioli from scratch, here’s a great Garlic Aioli recipe.

*For instructions about how to clean squid, watch this video.

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