Calamari is popularly served at restaurants and bars, not just in the United States but also worldwide.
With a crispy exterior and chewy interior, this delicacy's flavor profile can simply not be compared to any other seafood out there. You can have it on its own as a main or an appetizer.
Calamari can be cooked with pasta or soup, or it can be grilled or deep-fried. Any way you have it, it will taste absolutely delicious.
What is calamari?
Calamari is the Italian word for "squid." It’s a recipe made with fresh squid, which can be grilled, cooked, boiled, braised, or fried.
Any squid can be used to make calamari, but the most common ones used are the European ones, as they measure less than 12 inches. This dish is prepared with careful steps that begin with washing and removing the squid's head, viscera, fins, and inner cartilage. Then the squid is sliced, flattened, and cooked.
What does calamari taste like?
Squid has a thin but tough flesh, which is milder than cuttlefish and octopus, whose flesh is more flavorful. Small squids have a chewier and firm skin, but it’s not rubbery. When cooked, it has a more tender texture compared to the raw version.
The taste of calamari can be best described as being slightly bland with hints of sweetness and a nutty flavor.
However, when cooked, the calamari absorbs the flavors and aroma added to it, and the resulting flesh is a delicious take on the dish. For that reason, the calamari flavor of each dish is unique.
The overall flavor of fried calamari is intense, and it’s typically served with garlic aioli. When grilled, the calamari flavor is the same as the spices and marinade added to it.
Where does calamari come from?
It is believed that this dish originated many centuries ago from Europe and China.
However, it’s uncertain where the dish originated from since squids can be found in every ocean and sea. Since it’s most common in the Mediterranean, it’s thought that is where it originated from. The countries of origin are commonly considered to include Turkey, Spain, and Italy.
Unlike other seafood, you can easily store squid in the freezer, and it will hold up and stay frozen for long.
You can buy frozen squid from the grocery store, keep it in the freezer, buy fresh squid from the market, clean it, cut it, put it in an airtight container or pouch, and store it in the freezer. The squid can stay in the freezer for a few months.
When it comes to storing cooked calamari, if it’s been grilled or mixed with other ingredients, it can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two to three days.
Alternatively, you can store cooked calamari in the freezer in an airtight container for up to two months. Still, if you have deep-fried calamari, we recommend you have it immediately as it tastes best that way.
Tips on cooking with calamari
Cooking calamari can be tricky because it needs to be cooked for either a very short or long time. If you don’t cook it properly, it becomes too chewy or rubbery.
Here are some tips you should be mindful of when you cook calamari so that the texture is not too chewy and the calamari flavor is retained.
The bottom line
And that about covers our guide on what calamari is. It’s one of the most popular and versatile types of dishes that everyone has come to adore globally! And the reasons behind couldn’t be more overstated.
If you’ve never tried calamari before, you might be tempted to taste one now.
As a bonus, here’s an easy and delicious recipe you can follow to make fried and crispy calamari at home with a tangy dip.