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Old 12-03-2009, 11:04 AM   #1
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Calamari Failure

I made calamari recently in my deep fryer. I used frozen rings, purchased at a local asian grocery known for decent seafood.

Since the rings were so O-shaped and I was using a relatively boring batter, I expected the shape to be what it was- boring fried Os.

However, the flavor was way off. It started out "passable" and then progressed to a little fishy as it sat out on the serving platter. After a few minutes more, it became VERY fishy tasting and just got worse as time went on (even in a short time). What happened?

Are the frozen rings OK to use? Is there a better way to batter them nicely?

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Old 12-03-2009, 11:43 AM   #2
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I don't believe it was your batter. A fishy odor and flavor, especially since it was getting stronger, signals a spoiled calamari. Good, fresh calamari should have nearly no smell except a light smell of the ocean - in a good way. It may not even be your grocer's fault since they probably got it in frozen. If any frozen seafood should thaw and then refreeze, it's gone... no good... bye, bye. And is what may have happened to yours somewhere en-route from the sea to your stove.

And it's really not all that uncommon, unfortunately.
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:31 PM   #3
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Mmmm...calamari.....

I usually bread and pan fry it myself. I've always gotten the frozen 'bricks' of it. They're whole so you have to clean 'em but they are frozen on the boat. It's always been great that way - like Selkie said it ought to have a 'clean' smell, but that's true of fish in general.

They take about 24 hours to thaw completely in the fridge.

Smelly calamari would be gross...sorry to hear about your misadventure.
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:13 PM   #4
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I think that the calamari was most likely old and they didn't have a high turnover of the squid. I would buy it fresh, cut into rings, and then bread it and try again. I have made it many times and the calamari has to be fresh. Also cook it only until it browns. Do not overcook calamari or it will be tough to chew. You cook calamari only 2 ways - either only a few minutes or for 45 minutes, nowhere in between.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:32 AM   #5
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Thanks guys. I am going to re-try with either fresh or whole frozen calamari.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:21 AM   #6
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calamari

sorry to hear that...i agree with you all...the calamari has gone bad in your case..i've experience that too..it has a funky taste and is not that good of a smell...i would do the fresh squid in making calamari coz nothing beats ingredients that are fresh when your cooking..good luck next time u make it!
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:42 PM   #7
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Any seafood that has an overpowering smell isn't good to use. When breading calamari I would place them in a buttermilk bath for about 20 minutes before breading them. The buttermilk helps the breading stick better and the acidity in the milk helps break down the meat of the fish a little, which will help to tenderize it.
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Old 12-07-2009, 04:14 PM   #8
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Thanks all. I made this again using a slightly different product (frozen, cleaned "tubes" rather than rings) and it did NOT have the same fishy aftertaste. So yes, I believe my first one must have been spoiled.

I still have a lot to learn... the breading didn't cover the squid in many places, and the calamari came out just a little tough... BUT... it was close and it tasted clean/fresh. So far... so good. I will try the tip about buttermilk.
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:14 PM   #9
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I had the same experience! I thought it was how I had prepared it. Now I know it was the squids fault. I was thinking "Maybe I'm supposed to soak it in milk or white wine before cooking?" I just boiled it for a bit of marinara. It was so fishy I tossed the whole batch sauce and all.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:56 PM   #10
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I agree with them. The calamari should be fresh! My mother cook her calamari so well. She simply cut the squid into rings, dip the rings into a simple flour mixture, and fry. Mmmm.... delicious!
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Old 12-14-2009, 04:21 PM   #11
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Most of the squid you see in the stores, behind the seafood counter, is really not fresh. It comes in frozen and they thaw it out. If you are wanting fresh, I would ask if it is really fresh. I just buy the frozen, bread it lightly and it usually comes out great. I have tried the frozen rings and did not like them as much as the block of frozen squid.
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:26 AM   #12
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I'm still working on perfecting calamari. I can't seem to get it well-coated with flour like you see at the restaurants. If you have been to Carabba's or similar you will know what I mean. It usually looks almost battered, and there is substantial (but very crispy) coating. Simply dredging the rings in seasoned flour doesn't get this intense coating I am looking for, it just adds a paper thin powder coating to the rings. As a result the calamari isn't very crispy / coated. Any tips?
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:33 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tzakiel View Post
I'm still working on perfecting calamari. I can't seem to get it well-coated with flour like you see at the restaurants. If you have been to Carabba's or similar you will know what I mean. It usually looks almost battered, and there is substantial (but very crispy) coating. Simply dredging the rings in seasoned flour doesn't get this intense coating I am looking for, it just adds a paper thin powder coating to the rings. As a result the calamari isn't very crispy / coated. Any tips?
The calamari you see at places like Carabba's are pre-breaded and frozen. In order to achieve a similar result, you would need to first dry the calamari very well. then, dredge it in seasoned flour. third comes the egg wash, and fourth, in seasoned crumbs. If you let them set up in the fridge for a couple of hours, you will end up with the heavy breading that they achieve.

I prefer to just dip them in egg wash and into seasoned panko. They fry up much lighter that way, and still nice and crispy.
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Old 02-18-2010, 10:50 AM   #14
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The finest calamari I've eaten came from Fulton's Crab House in downtown disney. They ship in the "bell" of the squid, soak it in milk overnight, cut it in strips about 3/8" thick(looks like fries) and serve it on a bed of spring mix salad with tomato basil sauce. Add a squeeze of lemon and it melts in your mouth. Very light breading.
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