Fried Calamari with Lemon PestO Aioli


Summer is the time to enjoy light, fresh seafood. I swear I am constantly craving any variety whether it is salmon, shrimp, scallops and in this case, calamari. 

During my most recent visit to Lidl, I happened upon calamari as part of the featured product of the week. With a full basket it’s not like I NEEDED this addition, but I could not leave without this delicious selection. Prepared properly, calamari is incredibly light and not at all chewy as it is sometimes served. I much prefer a quick sauté, grill or a light breading, if fried.

Since I am a snacker at heart (and because you just have to treat yourself) I went with the fried option. Let me tell you, this recipe is SO easy and incredibly tasty. I opted to pair it with a bright lemon and pesto aioli, but bring on the tomato sauce too! 

With a few simple ingredients and only a little bit of time, you will be in true snack heaven!

1 lb. calamari, rinsed and sliced into rings

2 cups all purpose flour

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons fresh parsley 

Canola oil

(Lemon Pesto Aioli)
1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 small garlic garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Kosher salt

2 tablespoons pesto

Begin by pouring the oil into a medium saucepan. The oil should cover at least 3 inches. Heat the oil to 350 degrees.

While the oil is heating, place the flour, salt, pepper and parsley in a bowl. Mix well.

Slice the calamari into 1/4 inch thick rings. Rinse well and pat dry. In small batches, toss the calamari into the flour mixture to coat. Carefully place in the oil and fry for 3 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel lined plate. Season with salt. Repeat until all calamari is cooked.

While the calamari cools, prepare the lemon pesto aioli. Place the mayonnaise in a bowl. Slowly add the olive oil and stir well. Add the garlic, pesto, lemon juice and salt. Mix well.

Serve the calamari on a platter with the lemon garlic aioli. Serve and enjoy!

Elizabeth Canas