Gone are the days where you have to trudge into a restaurant for crisp, perfectly-seasoned calamari. This recipe plays with the classic combo of salt, pepper and squid for a crunchy, restaurant-style appetizer that will have you going back for seconds.

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1 lb squid, tubes and tentacles
1 cup buttermilk
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Canola oil, for frying
Green onions, thinly sliced
Small red chilies, thinly sliced (optional)

In a medium bowl, combine calamari with buttermilk, garlic and about half the salt. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight.

When ready to cook, put flour, pepper and remaining salt into a plastic bag (resealable freezer bags are ideal, with no holes in the bottom). In a wide, shallow pan, heat about an inch of canola oil until hot but not smoking. Test with a small piece of bread€”if the oil sizzles vigorously around it, It’s ready to go.

Lift calamari out of the buttermilk using a slotted spoon, letting the excess drip off. Drop the pieces in batches into the bag of seasoned flour and shake about to coat well. Drop pieces into the oil, separating a bit as you do, without shaking the excess flour off. Cook, turning with tongs or a slotted spoon, until golden and crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Serve topped with thinly sliced green onions and chilies€”and a pinch of flaky salt, if you like. Serves 4 to 6.

This was originally published June, 2020

Recipes by Julie van Rosendaal
hotographs and styling by Gabriel Cabrera