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Fried Calamari with Quick Marinara

Servings: 4



  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 14-ounce can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
  • 1 small carrot grated
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup corn meal
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 pound calamari and tentacles cleaned and cut into 1-inch tubes
  • Vegetable oil
  • 3-4 sprigs of Italian parsley
  • 1 lemon halved and charred


  • To a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the shallot and minced garlic; cook until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, grated carrot and Italian seasoning. Bring the tomato sauce for to a simmer and then immediately bring the heat down to medium low. Simmer, allowing the sauce to reduce, for 5 to 7 minutes. Mix in the salt and adjust seasonings to your liking. Cover the pot, so the sauce doesn't reduce anymore, and bring the heat down to very low.
  • In a medium bowl, beat together the two eggs. In a large bowl, toss together the all-purpose flour, corn meal, Italian seasoning, salt and crushed red pepper.
  • In a medium pot, pour in 3 inches of oil. Heat the oil to 325 degrees F. Working in batches, transfer the calamari and tentacles into the bowl with the beaten eggs. Transfer the calamari, a few handfuls at a time, into the flour mixture, being sure the calamari is thoroughly coated. Using a fork (I found this to be the best tool), drop the flour-dusted calamari into the hot oil, cooking for 1 to 2 minutes, until light brown. Transfer to a bed of a paper towels to drain. Place the fried calamari into a warm (200 degree F) oven while you fry up the rest of the calamari. Repeat the dredging, frying steps until you've worked your way through all of the calamari. For garnish, add a few sprigs of Italian parsley to the hot oil, cooking for about 1 minute.
  • Transfer the calamari and fried Italian parsley plate and serve with warm marinara sauce. Garnish with the charred lemon.