Create an amazing meal by topping a mixed green salad with a flavorful dressing and crispy fried calamari for a restaurant-style dinner at home.
One of my favorite restaurant appetizers has always been fried calamari. It is a treat that I love to enjoy when I’m out, but it wasn’t until recently that I realized just how simple it was to make at home myself.
I often enjoy the fried calamari on its own, but by adding it to the top of a salad, suddenly I have a satisfying meal for any night of the week, and it tastes just like if I had ordered it in a restaurant.
What is Calamari?
Calamari is a type of seafood (technically called Kalamarakia Tiganita) that originated in the Mediterranean. It is found in many Italian and Greek dishes and grew in popularity in North America in the mid-1970s.
It is a rich source of B vitamins vital to maintaining a healthy appetite and digestion, energy, good vision, and supple skin.
Is calamari octopus or squid?
Calamari is often confused with octopus, but it is actually a form of squid. The two vary in taste, with octopus often being served raw. An easy way to keep the two straight is to note that if it comes in rings, it is always squid.
Looking for other delicious seafood recipes with a Mediterranean flair? Here are a few to try:
Mediterranean White Fish
Sicilian Fish Stew
And don’t miss this recipe for Easy Shrimp Scampi, it is so good!
Ingredients for Fried Calamari Salad
There are a few different components that make this dish restaurant quality.
15 oz fresh calamari
1 cup flour
2 tbsp cornmeal
2½ cup vegetable oil
1½ tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup baking soda
½ cup sparkling water
½ tsp sugar
⅛ tsp salt
1½ cup panko bread crumbs
½ cup almonds crushed
1 tsp minced garlic
1½ tbsp lemon juice
2½ tbsp olive oil
6 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
3 tbsp mayo
salt to taste
4 cups mixed salad greens
1 shallot sliced
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes halved
1 cucumber sliced
How to Make Fried Calamari Salad
Here at CoolBeanCooking, I am all about making quick and easy recipes that taste amazing—but sometimes there’s additional prep time that needs to be done ahead of time. This is one of those times.
For the best possible results, I highly recommend you soak your calamari before cooking it. This will allow it to tenderize and even takes away some of the fishy smell. The acidity in the lemon juice will help break down the texture, leaving it much less chewy.
In a large mixing bowl, combine your sparkling water, lemon juice, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Add in the calamari, making sure to cover all of it with the liquid. I recommend chilling it in the fridge for 2 hours, but if you are short on time, soak for at least 30 minutes before frying.
For the dressing, you will need a medium bowl. Add in the panko breadcrumbs, crushed almonds, minced garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, Greek yogurt, and mayo. Mix it all together well and season with salt, to taste. Cover the dressing and refrigerate.
After the calamari is done soaking, remove it from the fridge and drain well in a colander. Do not rinse the calamari or pat dry, simply shake the strainer to remove the excess moisture.
Divide the mixed salad greens between 4 salad plates. Top with your shallots, tomatoes, and cucumbers, then set them aside for the time being.
In another medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Have a double layer of paper towels on a plate ready for draining cooked calamari.
Add the calamari rings into the flour mixture, a few at a time. Gently toss to coat, and shake off any excess coating.
Heat the vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat (340°F). Place a few rings at a time into the heated oil. Cook for 1-3 minutes or until the rings become lightly golden. Do not overcook or your calamari will become chewy. Carefully remove the calamari from the oil with a slotted spoon and place it on your paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all calamari is cooked.
Add the dressing to salads and top with fried calamari. Enjoy!
This Mediterranean favorite is a simple and delicious meal that is perfect for any night of the week.
Skip the Salad
Looking for an amazing appetizer to serve at a party or just have a craving for fried calamari? Ditch the mixed salad and enjoy the fried calamari by dipping it right into the special dressing—it makes an incredible dipping sauce!
Did you give this fried calamari salad a try? Let me know in the comments below or snap a photo and tag @coolbeanliving on Instagram. I’d love to see it!
Fried Calamari Salad
- 15 oz fresh calamari
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp cornmeal
- 2½ cup vegetable oil
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup baking soda
- ½ cup sparkling water
- ½ tsp sugar
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 4 cups mixed salad greens
- 1 shallot sliced
- 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes halved
- 1 cucumber sliced
- 1½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ cup almonds crushed
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1½ tbsp lemon juice
- 2½ tbsp olive oil
- 6 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp mayo
- salt to taste
- In a large mixing bowl, combine sparkling water, lemon juice, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Add calamari; chill in refrigerator for 2 hours.
- In medium bowl, add panko, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, yogurt, and mayo. Mix well. Season with salt to taste. Cover; refrigerate.
- Remove calamari from fridge after 2 hours and drain well in colander. Do not rinse or dry, simply shake strainer to remove excess moisture.
- Divide salad greens between 4 salad plates. Top with shallots, tomatoes, cucumbers; set aside.
- In another medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, and salt; set aside. Prepare a double layer of paper towel on a plate for draining cooked calamari.
- Add calamari rings into the flour mixture, a few at a time. Gently toss to coat. Shake off excess coating.
- Heat vegetable oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Place a few rings at a time into the heated oil. Cook for 1-3 minutes or until lightly golden. Do not overcook. Remove from oil with slotted spoon, placing on paper towel lined plate. Repeat until all calamari is cooked.
- Add dressing to salads and top with fried calamari; serve.