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Union Square Cafe's
Fried Calamari
Makes 4 Servings
*1 lb. fresh, cleaned calamari
*2 cups club soda or seltzer
*4 cups extra-virgin olive oil
*2 cups all-purpose flour
*Kosher salt
*2 lemons, quartered
1Cut the calamari crosswise into 1/4-inch rings. If the tentacles are large, halve or quarter them lengthwise. Put the calamari into a medium bowl, pour in the club soda or seltzer, and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
2Prehat the oven to 200 degrees F.
3Pour the oil into a heavy-bottomed, straight-sided 3-quart saucepan, about 8 inches in diameter. The pan should be not more than one-quarter full, or the oil may bubble over when the calamari are frying. Heat the oil to 325 degrees F on a deep-fat thermometer.
4While the oil is heating, put the flour into a bowl. Remove a small handful of calamari from the soda and put it into the bowl with the flour. Toss to coat the calamari with the flour. Transfer the calamari to a mesh strainer and shake lightly to shed excess flour. Slide the calamari into the hot oil, and stir gently with a slotted spoon to separate the rings. Fry until the coating is crisp and very lightly colored, 45 seconds to 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle immediately with salt. Keep the cooked calamari warm in the oven, uncovered, while you continue frying. Check and maintain your oil temperature and repeat with the remaining calamari. (You'll need to do several batches.) Serve hot with lemon quarters.
  • The key to this dish is to cook the calamari in small batches; if the pan gets too crowded, the coating won't be as crisp.

The foregoing is excerpted from Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe by Danny Meyer and Michael Romano, photographs by Duane Michals. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022