The dish known as sauteed calamari was originally created to feed sailors on board ship.
It’s also referred to as “squid à la Platter,” and it’s a classic Italian dish.
Calamari is one of those foods that can be prepared in many different ways, but this traditional sauté is an easy way to get acquainted with calamari.
In this article we will discuss how to saute calamari so that you can enjoy delicious seafood at home.
What Type Of Calamari Is Best For Sauteing?
When preparing calamari for sauteing, there is no single right answer because each piece of calamari has its own unique taste profile.
The only thing that matters is whether or not the calamari tastes good enough to eat.
If you are new to cooking calamari then I recommend starting out with baby squid (also called tiny squid).
These small pieces of calamari have a milder flavor than larger squid, which makes them ideal for beginners who want to try something new without overwhelming their palate.
For more experienced cooks, large squid is a great choice since they tend to have stronger flavors.
If you prefer to cook your calamari whole, then look into purchasing frozen squid rings instead of fresh ones.
Frozen squid rings can be found in most supermarkets under the name “calamari sticks.”
There are two main types of squid that you can use to make calamari sautee: cuttlefish and octopus.
Cuttlefish tend to be smaller than octopuses, but both types grow tentacles.
Squid species may differ slightly from country to country depending on what part of the world you live in.
Octopus is typically much larger than cuttlefish, but it does come with some downsides.
Octopuses are extremely difficult to clean properly, and they produce ink during the process of cleaning.
It’s very important to avoid eating raw octopus because it carries a risk of infection from bacteria like E.
How Do You Prepare The Calamari For Sauteing?
Before cooking calamari for sauteing, cut off the tentacles from each piece.
Next, remove the skin from the body (if desired).
Cut each piece into rings or strips.
If you want to use fresh calamari, buy the smallest ones available.
If you want to save money, frozen calamari works just fine.
You can find pre-cut frozen calamari here.
Just thaw the calamari before using.
What Type Of Oil Is Best For Sauteing Calamari?
When preparing calamari for sauteing, olive oil is usually used because it has a high smoke point (the temperature where oil starts to break down).
However, other types of oils like vegetable or canola oil may work just fine too, depending on what flavor profile you want from your sautéed calamari.
Smoke points vary between different types of oils.
For example, extra virgin olive oil tends to have a lower smoke point than refined olive oil, which means that it won’t last quite as long in the pan before starting to turn into fatty bits.
That being said, both varieties work well enough for sauteed calamari.
Can I use non-stick pans for sauteing calamari?
Non-stick pans are great for sauteeing calamari because they don’t contain any harmful chemicals such as PFOA or Teflon.
They also tend to release less grease during cooking than regular metal cookware, making them ideal for sauting calamari since it doesn’t take much oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
Non-stick pans come in various sizes, including small, medium, large and even giant.
How Hot Should The Oil Be For Sauteing Calamari?
You want to heat up the oil while the calamari cook.
The goal here is to create a nice sear on the surface of the calamari without burning them or cooking them too much.
If you overheat the oil, then you risk ruining the flavor profile of the calamari.
When you add the calamari to the pan, stir constantly to ensure even heating throughout the meat.
How Long Should You Saute Calamari?
You want to cook the calamari until it turns opaque white all over.
The meat should feel firm and spring back when pressed gently between two fingers.
If the calamari is still translucent then it may need another minute or two.
Cooking time for squid (calamari)
1-inch pieces: 6 minutes
4-6 inch pieces: 8-10 minutes
Sautéing time for squid (calamari)
1-inch pieces: 3 minutes
4-6 inch pieces: 5 minutes
What Type Of Seasoning Is Best For Sauteed Calamari?
One of the most important things to remember about sauteed calamari is that the sauce should have flavor.
The flavors need to complement each other rather than compete against them.
A simple lemon juice or white wine vinegar dressing would work well here because they don’t overpower the calamari too much.
You could also use a spicy chili sauce like Sriracha, which adds heat without being overwhelming.
You might even want to try adding a bit of fresh garlic or onion powder into the mix to give it extra depth.
How Do You Know When Sauteed Calamari Is Done?
When calamari goes into the fryer or oven, it should have a nice golden brown color all over.
The meat inside should look white and firm.
If you don’t like to eat raw calamari, then you may want to cook them before eating.
You can use a grill pan, a panini press, or even a cast iron skillet.
If you plan to do any of these things, first season the calamari with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Then place the calamari onto the hot surface and sear until they turn bright red.
Remove from heat and let sit for about 10 minutes for the juices to release.
How do you find out what size calamari to buy?
You can choose between whole (head-on) or cleaned (body only).
A head-on piece is usually around 1 pound, while body pieces are typically less than half a pound each.
Whole calamari come in two forms – whole tentacles and whole bodies.
Both are good choices for cooking because their texture is similar.
Cleaned calamari tend to have smaller pieces, which makes them easier to handle during preparation.
What Are Some Common Mistakes People Make When Sauteing Calamari?
Sauteed calamari is a versatile dish that allows you to use just about any kind of calamari.
Most often, though, calamari is used because it has meaty tentacles that are similar to shrimp or scallops.
There are two main types of calamari that are typically eaten sauteed—the European-style calamari (aka “bumba”) or the American-style calamari (aka “calamares”).
When cooking calamari, there are several things that people tend to forget about, which can result in undercooked calamari.
Here are a few tips to help ensure that calamari is properly cooked when sauted.
1. Don’t overcook the calamari!
This may seem obvious, but it happens more than you think.
The key thing to remember here is that the calamari cooks quickly and needs only a short time in the pan.
If you try to cook the calamari too much, it will become tough and chewy.
So don’t overdo it when sauting calamari.
2. Use the right amount of oil for sauteing calamari
If you have ever tried to saute calamari before, you probably noticed that the calamari tends to stick rather well to the bottom of the pan.
You might even find yourself having to flip them halfway through cooking.
That is caused by using too little oil.
To avoid this problem, always add enough oil to cover the bottom of the frying pan so that you can easily turn the calamari without burning your hands.
3. Do not overcrowd the pan when sauteing calamari
As mentioned above, the calamari cooks very fast, so don’t crowd the pan.
Try to place each piece in the center of the pan and leave room around it so that all sides can brown evenly.
Also, never put too many pieces into the pan at once.
Instead, let the calamari sit out while you finish cooking the rest.
4. Keep the heat low during sauteing calamari
You want to keep the temperature of the oil between 350 degrees Fahrenheit and 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Too high of a temp could cause the calamari to dry out, leaving the inside of the tentacle mushy instead of crispy.
But too low of a temp means that the calamari won’t sear correctly.
5. Allow the calamari to cool down completely after sauteing
Don’t attempt to eat the calamari until they’ve cooled off completely.
The reason why is because the calamari doesn’t taste good when it’s still warm from being fried.
Plus, you risk getting sick from bacteria that grows when food sits in warm water.
When you remove the calamari from the pan, allow it to come up to room temperature first before eating.
What Should You Do If Your Calamari Is Not Cooked Through After
If you want to serve these deliciously seasoned calamari straight out of the skillet without any further preparation or cooking, simply remove them from the heat once they have turned opaque and transfer them to plates using tongs.
You may garnish them with lemon wedges and parsley sprigs.
But if you decide to continue preparing them, here are few tips that will help ensure that your calamari turns out perfectly every time.
Don’t overcrowd the pan
When making sauteed calamari, don’t crowd the pan too much because this will result in the calamari being undercooked.
If you need more space to cook your calamari, use two pans instead of one.
Use enough oil
You must add sufficient amounts of oil to the pan before adding the calamari pieces.
The oil helps prevent the calamari from sticking together while frying, and the high temperature of the oil makes sure that all sides of the calamari gets well browned.
It takes patience to stir-fry calamari, especially if it has been sitting in the pan for several minutes already.
But keep doing it.
Stirring constantly ensures that the calamari cooks evenly.
Add salt first
Adding salt to the pan first allows the calamari to absorb its flavor, which will make it taste better later.
This step can take up to 30 seconds, depending on the level of salinity in the water used to clean the calamari.
Toss the calamari
Once the calamari begins to turn opaque (the color changes from translucent white to light pink), immediately toss the calamari around in the pan to coat it with the oil.
Tossing keeps the calamari from sticking to itself.
Check the texture
As soon as the calamari turns opaque, check to see whether it’s tender enough to eat.
There shouldn’t be any hard parts left inside.
If there are still small chunks of squid meat remaining, flip the calamari over again and repeat the process until all of the calamari is completely soft and moist.
Otherwise, return it to the stovetop until fully cooked.
- 500 g Calamari squid
- 4 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 butter
- 1 garlic
- fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
- 4 lemon wedges
- The calamari should be washed, dried, and laid flat. Garlic should be peeled and chopped finely. The pepper should be rinsed and cut in half. Finely dice after removing the seeds and membranes. Lemons should be cut in half, with the zest being grated finely and the juice being squeezed from each half. Fennel and pepper should be crushed in a mortar before being combined with 4 tablespoons of oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, chile, and garlic. Mix thoroughly after adding to the calamari. Refrigerator marinating for two hours under cover
- Drain off the marinade. In a pan, heat the remaining oil. Sauté the calamari for 5 to 6 minutes with the remaining lemon half. Add salt and pepper, then serve.