There are many, many variations on the theme of spicy Calamari, but we think our version’s innovative and one of the best. Naomi developed this recipe in high school and has been making it for her family ever since. An explosion of flavors from crushed red pepper and fresh lemon combine with lightly fried clamari, peppers, tomatoes, and black olives combine in a dish awesome enough to stand on its’ own, although you could always serve it with gluten free pasta and marinara sauce. If you like spicy and bold flavors, this dish is for you. This recipe serves two as an entree or 4 as an appetizer.

1 lb calamari (squid), thawed, cleaned, and cut into 1/2 inch rings

3-5 c Better Batter Gluten Free Seasoned Flour, divided out into 1c (4oz or 113g) , 2c (8oz or 227g) and 2c amounts

1 12 oz bottle gluten free beer such as Redbridge, or club soda

oil for frying

1/4 c – 1/2 c olive oil

1 lemon, sliced VERY thin, peel intact PLUS 1 lemon (for squeezing)

1 c black or kalamata olives, pitted (you may use sliced or whole)

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved OR 2 large roma tomatoes, diced

1 c banana peppers, drained well

1 clove garlic, minced

pinch or more crushed red pepper

1 tbsp finely minced parsley

fresh parmesan cheese, for shaving/grating, to taste

In a large bowl, combine gluten free beer and 1 c of the Better Batter Gluten Free Seasoned Flour. Stir well – mixture will bubble up – until the batter thickens to about the consistency of pancake batter.

In a small bowl, combine 1-2 c of the remaining flour and the calamari rings. Allow to sit for 3-4 minutes.

Take the floured rings and shake off the excess flour. Place into the batter and allow to sit for 3-4 minutes.

Take the battered rings and shake off the excess batter lightly. Place into the third bowl of flour and shake to coat thoroughly. Allow to sit for at least 4-5 minutes while you heat the oil and cook the other ingredients.

In a very heavy skillet (like cast iron) or a deep fat fryer, heat the oil to 375 degrees. You want the oil to be at least 2 inches deep.

Meanwhile in a separate skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add lemon and cook until lemon wilts, about a minute. Add the olives, tomatoes, peppers, crushed red pepper and garlic and cook for another minute to three minutes. Set aside briefly off the heat while you cook the calamari.

Shake off any excess flour gently from the rings and fry a few at a time until golden brown. This should take 1-2 minutes.

Drain well.

Place second skillet on the heat again, and add the calamari to the other ingredients in the pan, tossing to coat lightly.

Remove from the heat and plate immediately. Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of each serving, and sprinkle with fresh parsley and a generous amount of freshly shaevd or grated parmesan cheese. Serve piping hot.

Note: this dish may be served with a side of pasta and marinara, or for a variation, you may mix the finished calamari into the marinara and serve the entire thing as a pasta dish.