Crispy, succulent calamari rings, coated in seasoned flour and quickly fried to crispy perfection. Budget 30 minutes to soak the calamari in milk. This helps tenderize them while taming their fish smell. It also allows the flour coating to better stick on the rings. Be sure to read the post for more tips!
In a medium bowl, stir 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt in ½ cup milk.
Add the calamari rings to the milk mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, oregano, black pepper, and cayenne (make sure the mixture is well combined).
Prepare a large colander and set it on top of a large bowl. Using a pair of tongs, take a portion of the calamari rings (about ½ of them) shake off excess milk and toss the calamari in the flour mixture. Toss the calamari to coat evenly. Put the coated calamari in the colander. Repeat with the rest of the calamari.
Turn your oven on a low 150 degrees F. Prepare a large sheet pan and set a wire rack on top. Top the wire rack with paper towel.
Heat 4 inches of grape seed oil in a small cooking pot (I used a 2.5 quart pot) to somewhere between 350 and 365 degrees F. To test your oil, drop one calamari ring, many bubbles will form around it and the calamari will begin to float.
Once your oil is ready, using a pair of tongs, gently add some of the calamari in and fry for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the calamari from the oil and arrange it on the paper towel on top of your prepared wire rack. Immediately season with kosher salt, then transfer to your warm oven to keep warm while you work on the rest. Repeat until you have fried all the calamari.
Transfer the fried calamari to a serving plate and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice!
Don't skip soaking the calamari in the salted milk. This helps tenderize the calamari while also taming the fishy taste
Serve fried calamari hot with a side of marinara sauce or Tzatziki sauce.
To make this in the air fryer: (this is according to my research as I do not own an air fryer). Arrange the calamari in one single layer in your air fryer basket (you may do this in batches if you need to). Coat the calamari with cooking spray. Cook at 400 F for 8 minutes or until the calamari turns golden and is cooked through
Leftovers & storage: leftovers will last in the fridge for up to 3 days. The calamari will lose its crunch, but will still taste good. Do not reheat leftover fried calamari