Fried Baby Squid {Calamaretti Fritti} with Arugula & Tomatoes

One of my favorite seafood dishes is fried baby calamari, called calamaretti. They are not always easy to find, but when they are on a restaurant menu and I know that they are fresh, I will always order them. We started to visit the coast of Le Marche about eight years ago and found a restaurant in Pesaro that served calamaretti fritti. The restaurant served the crispy fried delights on a bed of peppery arugula along with sweet cherry tomatoes. The baby squid were perfectly fried with the lightest of batters, and the finished dish was drizzled with just a little balsamic vinegar. From the very first taste, I knew I was in love with this dish. I am not embarrassed to admit that we have visited Pesaro almost every year if we are in Le Marche, so that I can enjoy this dish again because it is simply just THAT good.

fishmarket1On a recent trip to Venice, we visited the fish market the day we were leaving and found one fishmonger selling calamaretti. There was no question at all whether we would buy this delicacy. Along with some swordfish, scallops, Branzino, and a plump octopus, we bought half a kilo of baby squid so I could make my favorite dish. To keep the coating as light as possible, I simply tossed my calamaretti in a bag of seasoned flour. I fried the baby squid in hot oil for just about a minute, then drained them on paper towels. Obviously, not everyone has the option to buy squid of this size, but you could create this recipe using full-size squid as well. Simply clean the squid as you would normally, then cut it into thin rings. I would serve this dish as an appetizer or as a main course.

calamaretti

Baby Squid On Sale At The Venice Fish Market.

fishmarket2

Just One Of The Stands At The Market With a Wide Selection of Seafood!

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 2015

Fried Baby Squid {Calamaretti Fritti} with Arugula & Tomatoes

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Baby Squid
  • 1 1/2 Cups All-purpose Flour Seasoned With Salt & Pepper
  • Safflower Oil For Deep Frying
  • Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper
  • 3 Cups Baby Arugula Leaves
  • 2 Cups Halved Ripe Cherry Tomatoes
  • Aged Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

  1. Rinse the squid and pat dry.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan to 375 degrees F.
  3. Place the seasoned flour in a plastic bag.
  4. Take a handful of the squid and place in the bag and toss to coat.
  5. Fry the squid in batches for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until crispy and lightly browned.
  6. Place the cooked squid on a plate lined with paper towels.
  7. Arrange the arugula on a platter.
  8. Arrange the tomatoes on top of the arugula along with the fried calamaretti.
  9. Season everything with salt and pepper and then lightly drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
  10. Serve immediately.