If creeping supermarket prices are stopping you from buying your pre-prepared seafood favourites like salt and pepper calamari – rest assured you can TOTALLY make it yourself for much less money. And thanks to the air fryer, it’s EASIER than ever!
That’s right, you no longer need to spend big bucks on pre-prepared salt and pepper calamari (some packs are as nearly $30 a kilogram!), especially when you realise just how easy it is to make yourself and can be done at a fraction of the price.
You can buy squid tubes fresh from the supermarket deli, or your local fishmonger. You can also buy them frozen in the supermarket seafood freezer. If you’re a dab hand with a fishing line and live by the ocean, you could even catch fresh squid yourself. It doesn’t get fresher than that!
Yummmmmm and totally achievable at home without Masterchef skills. via GIPHY
Kids don’t love spice? No worries!
If the kids aren’t into anything remotely spicy, you can leave the heavy salt and pepper out of the breadcrumbs for starters, crumb and cook their calamari rings first, then add the spice into the crumbling mix for your own batch afterwards.
The secret to tender calamari
No one likes chewy calamari, it should be easy to eat and not at all rubbery. To tenderize your calamari, soak rings in buttermilk (or regular milk) for at least half an hour before crumbing and cooking. Also, you always want to cook calamari at a high heat so it cooks FAST!
Ready to get your salt and pepper calamari started? Check out the easy peasy recipe below!
Air fryer salt and pepper calamari recipe
- 500ml buttermilk (or regular milk) for soaking
- 500g fresh squid hoods
- ½ cup plain flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ½ cup milk
- 2 cups breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons sea salt flakes
- Oil cooking spray
- Lemon and a sprinkle of chopped parsley to serve (optional)
- Using a sharp knife, slice the squid hoods into calamari rings around 1.5-2cm thick. Place in a bowl and cover with buttermilk (or regular milk) to soak for at least half an hour.
- Drain the calamari rings from the milk bath and pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Even though you might not usually pre-heat your air fryer, I suggest preheating it to 200°C for this recipe so the calamari hits the heat straight away.
- Place flour in a bowl. Whisk egg and milk in a separate bowl. Combine the breadcrumbs, salt, and peppers in a third bowl.
- Lightly dust the calamari rings first in the flour, then dip them in the egg mixture, and finally in the breadcrumb mixture, pressing the crumbs on gently.
- Gently place the salt and pepper calamari rings in a single layer in the air fryer basket. Generously spritz them with the oil cooking spray and cook for 5 minutes, turn the rings over, spritz with oil again and cook for a further 4 minutes or until golden and crispy.
- Keep the salt and pepper calamari warm while you cook the remaining batches or eat straight away, served with a sprinkle of parsley, lemon wedges and with a delicious dipping sauce!
But which delicious dipping sauce is best for salt and pepper calamari? Good choices include aioli, tartare sauce or even a sweet chilli sauce for a touch of added heat! If the kids want to pair theirs with a tomato sauce, turn a blind eye and let them be – they know their taste buds best – fish and tomato sauce might just be an awesome taste sensation. #maybe
Do you have a favourite air fryer recipe you’d like to share? Leave a comment in the comments below and tell us all about it, we’d love to hear it!