This is a great first course…and best served piping hot out of the fryer. Your guests will have the first batch devoured in seconds as they await the next one coming out of the fryer! I chose to include in mine, calamari, zucchini and lemons! There are so many other options available as well…green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, shrimp…let your creativity fly! A simple dusting of flour on the vegetables is all you need! Be sure to add this gorgeous recipe to your Feast of the Seven Fishes…click here for more amazing Christmas Eve recipes! If you are local to Charlotte, grab all of the super fresh fish and seafood at The Carolina Meat & Fish Co.!
I love this recipe for so many reasons. Soaking the squid in buttermilk creates an incredible tenderness on the inside. The inclusion of rice flour lends to the perfect crunch on the outside. Oh…and have you ever had fried lemons before…OMG! The simple dipping sauce at the end…just two ingredients…adjust to your desired heat level.
Rinse the tubes and tentacles in a colander. Remove any squid fins from the tubes…they are edible, but best taken off for this recipe. Cut tubes into rings. Lightly salt. Soak the rings and tentacles in the buttermilk for at least 20 minutes.
While the squid is soaking, cut the zucchini into matchsticks and the lemon into thin slices. Heat up the oil in a large cast iron pan. I love using this deep one from Lodge…click here to purchase. You want the temperature of the oil to be around 375 degrees. Mix the flour, rice flour, salt and pepper, and paprika on a baking sheet pan. Lightly coat the zucchini and lemons.
Shake off any excess flour and begin frying the zucchini in batches. Do not overcrowd the pot. Fry until they are nice and golden brown. Repeat the same process with the lemons. Drain on paper towels and salt immediately.
I did change the oil after frying the zucchini and lemons. You do not have to do this. I just felt like I had too much flour in the oil and wanted a nice golden brown on the calamari. Transfer the calamari from the buttermilk to the flour mixture…allowing any extra buttermilk to drain off…coat the calamari and drop into the oil in batches.
As soon as the calamari turn a light golden brown, remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all of the calamari have been fried. Transfer to paper towels directly out of the fryer and salt. Serve immediately with the fried zucchini, lemons and Sriracha mayo. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and lemon wedges. ENJOY!!!