If you want to check the mettle of an Italian restaurant, order the calamari. It should be crisp and tender, with just a light coating that allows the sweetness of the calamari to shine through which is exactly how we make it at Carrabba’s, and why it is our best selling appetizer.
Portions: Makes 2 to 4 servings
Preheat the oven to 200°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels. Have a second baking sheet nearby. Pour enough oil to come 2 inches up the side of a large, heavy saucepan. Heat over high heat to 350°F on a deep frying thermometer. Cut the calamari bodies (sacs) crosswise into ¹⁄2-inch-wide rings. Cut each cluster of tentacles in halves or thirds. Sea- son the calamari with the salt and pepper. Pour the flour into a bowl. Coat half of the calamari with flour, shaking off the excess flour. Add to the oil and cook over high heat until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Using a wire spider or slotted spoon, transfer the calamari to the paper towels to drain briefly. Move the calamari to the second baking sheet and place in the oven. Repeat with the remaining calamari and flour, reheating the oil to 350°F before frying the second batch. Transfer the calamari to serving plates, add the lemon wedges, and serve with cups of the marinara sauce for dipping, if desired. Try the calamari with the as a dip.