Recently I was walking through Whole Foods and some really nice looking fresh squid caught my eye. I bought some and headed home to make a beautiful sautéed calamari dish. It is so easy, anyone can do it.
Sautéing is a great way to cook seafood whether you’re a veteran chef or it’s your first time.
I love testing out different ways to cook my favorite foods. I’ve made calamari in many different ways. I’ve fried it, boiled it, baked it and I strongly believe that sauteed calamari is my favorite.
I have a really great calamari recipe that I want to share with you.
What is Sautéing?
When you saute something you are cooking with high heat and a small amount of oil or fat. It’s normally a fast method of cooking.
The average temperature for sautéing is around 350 degrees Fahrenheit and it is done in a shallow pan.
The Main Ingredients Needed for the Sauteed Calamari Recipe
For this quick recipe you only need a handful of ingredients.
Calamari: like most calamari dishes, you can buy fresh calamari or frozen calamari. If you buy it frozen, look for calamari that is already cleaned.
No matter which type of squid you buy, it is made up of the body, which is a long tube and the tentacles, which are what people often refer to as the legs.
Olive Oil: we are going to be using olive oil as the fat to saute this dish. You can use extra virgin if you have it. You can also use a lighter olive oil with a higher smoke point.
Garlic: use some fresh garlic. A couple garlic cloves will be enough for this recipe.
Seasoning: the usual suspects will be involved. The Kosher salt, black pepper and red chili flakes.
Parsley: I always like using parsley when I cook seafood. You can use fresh parsley if you have it. Dried parsley will work fine too.
Tomatoes: for this recipe you can use a can of crushed tomatoes or some tomato sauce if you have it made. If you have a favorite brand of tomato sauce from the grocery store, feel free to use it.
How to Make the Sauteed Calamari
The first thing we have to do is prepare the calamari. Take the calamari tube and cut them into rings about a half inch wide.
Get a large frying pan and add a couple tablespoons of oil. I like using a large pan so all of the calamari has enough room to touch the hot surface of the pan without overcrowding.
Put the pan on medium high heat and add your chopped garlic. We want the garlic to heat up slowly and flavor the oil. If you notice that the garlic is starting to cook too fast, turn the stove down to low heat to prevent it from burning. This step should take 2-3 minutes.
Pat your raw calamari with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture. Now add them to the pan. Make sure you put in the calamari rings and tentacles.
Season the calamari with a pinch of salt, black pepper and the red pepper flakes.
With the pan on medium heat, keep the calamari moving by tossing the pan or stirring it with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes.
When the calamari starts to become firm and develop a sear on the outside, add the tomato sauce and parsley. Allow the calamari to simmer in the tomato sauce for another 3-4 minutes on medium high heat.
Taste the calamari during the process and put in some additional salt if needed.
Transfer the cooked calamari and sauce to a serving dish and enjoy!
Sauteed Calamari FAQs
Q: I prefer a white sauce. Can I make it without tomato sauce?
A: Yes. Follow the same process, but instead of using tomato sauce, add white wine, butter and lemon juice.
Q: Can I turn this into a pasta dish?
A: Absolutely. Boil some spaghetti or linguine, drain it and add it right into the large skillet with the sauteed calamari. Toss it well so the pasta soaks up all of the sauce and serve it up!
Q: What can I do with the leftovers?
A: If you have leftover sauteed calamari, put it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. I think the flavors get better overnight and the next day you have something really good. You can boil some pasta and make another meal out of it.
You can also get some pizza dough and make a Calamari Fra Diavolo pizza with grated Romano cheese and added hot red peppers.
What should I serve with the sauteed calamari?
Salad: A simple mixed green salad with a red wine vinaigrette.
Side Dish: Sauteed red and yellow peppers with olive oil and capers. Alternatively, try making a simple bruschetta.
Wine: A crisp white will go well with this dish. Try an Etna Bianca from Sicily.
Bread: A rustic and crusty bread that you can use to soak up all of the sauce.Print