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Calamari a la Carrabba’s is simple, quick to make

By Robin Domeier
You Asked For It
Restaurant writer Robin Domeier tracks down Charlotte restaurant recipes that readers have requested. Domeier is owner of Nibbles Personal Chef.

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  • More information

    Are you looking for a recipe from a Charlotte-area restaurant that is currently in business? Send your requests to Robin Domeier, Please include your name, why you like the recipe, the area where you live and the restaurant’s location.

  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill Fried Calamari

    1 pound whole calamari or 1 pound calamari rings (thawed), cleaned and patted dry

    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

    1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

    1/2 cup all-purpose flour

    Vegetable oil for frying

    2 cups marinara sauce, warmed

    Lemon wedges

    PREHEAT oven to 200 degrees and line a baking sheet with paper towels.

    PREPARE the calamari: If using whole calamari, cut the bodies (sacs) crosswise into 1/2-inch rings. If using the tentacles, cut each cluster into halves or thirds. (If using frozen calamari, thaw in the refrigerator according to package directions.) Pat dry.

    SEASON the calamari with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Shake off the excess flour.

    POUR enough oil in a fryer or a heavy saucepan to measure 2 inches deep. Heat oil to 350 degrees using a deep-fry thermometer.

    GENTLY drop half of the calamari into the oil, stirring once with a slotted metal spoon to make sure they don’t stick together. Fry the calamari approximately 2 minutes, or until they are just golden brown. Put the calamari on the paper towel-lined baking sheet and place in the oven to stay warm while you fry the other half.

    SERVE with marinara sauce and lemon wedges.

  • Carrabba’s Italian Grill

    Multiple locations: 1501 South Blvd. (704-377-2458); 10408 E. Independence Blvd., Matthews (704-844-0464); 7900 Lyles Lane, Concord (704-979-3224); 16408 Northcross Dr., Huntersville (704-895-3080).

Sharon Hall of Monroe requested a calamari recipe from Carrabba’s Italian Grill.

“My husband and I love it. We go there sometimes just for this. I’ve tried making my own and they turned out terrible.”

Of all the restaurant recipes I’ve tested, this one is dead simple and quick. It takes less than 15 minutes to prep the calamari (half that time if you buy the squid already broken down into rings) and hardly any time to cook.

If you don’t have the time to prep your own calamari (or you’re intimidated to clean and cut up squid), you can buy bags of frozen calamari rings at grocery stores. Defrost it in the refrigerator before cooking.

Be careful about overcooking the sweet-tasting squid. It will get rubbery if fried for too long. Speaking of frying, make sure the oil is up to the right temperature. Otherwise, the calamari will become excessively greasy.

Robin Domeier is owner of Nibbles Personal Chef.
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