Batter-Fried Shrimp and Calamari
Wherever you find seafood in Italy, you will find cooks frying it in a crispy batter. This batter is made with eggs and yeast, which gives the crust a light, airy texture, golden color, and good flavor. Though I use olive oil for most cooking purposes, I prefer a tasteless vegetable oil for frying.
Total Timeunder 30 minutes
OccasionCasual Dinner Party
Recipe Coursehot appetizer, main course
Taste and Texturecrisp, savory
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast or instant yeast
- 1 cup warm water (100 to 110°F)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound small shrimp, shelled and deveined
- 8 ounces cleaned calamari (squid)
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges
In a medium bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let stand 1 minute or until creamy. Stir to dissolve.
Add the eggs to the yeast mixture and beat well. Stir in the flour and salt. Beat with a whisk until smooth.
Rinse the shrimp and calamari well. Pat dry. Cut the calamari crosswise into ½-inch rings. If large, cut the base of each group of tentacles in half.
In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 2 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Heat the oil to 370°F on a frying thermometer or until a drop of the batter placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute.
Stir the shrimp and calamari into the batter. Remove the pieces a few at a time, letting the excess batter drip back into the bowl. Very carefully place the pieces in the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry, stirring once with a slotted spoon, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the seafood from the pan and drain on paper towels. Fry the remainder in the same way. Serve hot with lemon wedges.
2004 Michele Scicolone