What Is Calamari? What Every Foodie Should Know
“Calamari” is the Italian word for squid (plural), and the dish is extremely popular in countries like Italy and Spain. Although some culinary experts would quibble about the details that distinguish true calamari from other squid dishes, the term “calamari” is often used interchangeably with squid on various menus.
Regardless, when ordering calamari, you can most commonly expect bite-size helpings of squid that are battered and deep-fried. This delicacy has a slightly sweet flavor, and the crisp, flaky breading provides a nice complement to the firm white meat. A garnish of parsley and lemon completes the presentation.
Though squid is a bit high in fat and cholesterol (depending on how it’s prepared), it’s also an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium. In moderation, it can be an excellent source of nutrients.
Though squid vary greatly in size, most calamari is made from squid less than 12 inches in length. Calamari is a challenging dish to prepare for the uninitiated: It involves removing the head, cartilage, and innards from the squid, and then typically cutting the meat crosswise to create strips.
While calamari rings make for popular entrees and appetizers, the meat can also be prepared in strips and presented like large french fries. After being cut, the squid is battered and fried using high heat. It can then be garnished with any preferred spices and prepared with marinara sauce, mayonnaise, cocktail sauce, or another favorite dipping sauce.
Whether you decide to enjoy calamari at home or at your favorite restaurant, make sure to jump in with an open mind. For many people, the chewy texture can take a bit of getting used to, but if you accustom yourself to this unique delicacy, you’ll quickly come to appreciate and even crave the interplay between the firm and the crunchy and the sour and the savory. While you’re exploring new seafood inspirations, read on for our favorite easy seafood recipes.