This recipe for Deep Fried Calamari Sandwich is an edited extract from The Spanish Home Kitchen by José Pizarro, published by Hardie Grant Books, RRP $55.00. Available in stores now. Photography by Emma Lee.
For me, this is best sandwich in the world, and (top tip) it’s the most incredible hangover food! People seem surprised to learn that some of the best and freshest seafood in Spain can be found in Madrid. I have such wonderful memories of working there in my early twenties. I had a brilliant time exploring the night life and partying, and then discovering places to get something to eat afterwards – this was the best way to discover some incredible street food.
One of my favourite places in Madrid is El Mercado de San Miguel, partly because I had one of the best bocadillo de calamares of my life there. I think this recipe comes close to it – but I warn you, there’s no turning back!
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 free-range egg yolk
1 garlic clove, crushed
finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus juice to taste
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
pinch of sea salt
150 ml (5 fl oz/scant 2/3 cup) olive oil
1 litre (34 fl oz/4 cups) vegetable oil or light olive oil, for deep-frying
120 g (4 oz/scant 1 cup) plain (all-purpose) flour
1 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera (smoked paprika)
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) small squid, cleaned, tentacles removed and body sliced into rings
1 crusty baguette, cut into 4 pieces and each one halved
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Begin by making the aioli. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, garlic, lemon zest and vinegar. Season with a good pinch of sea salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until you have a thick, luscious aioli. Add lemon juice to taste and set aside.
To prepare the calamari, pour the oil into a large saucepan (you want it to be half full). Heat to 190°C (375°F), or until a cube of bread browns in 20 seconds. While the oil is heating, mix together the flour and pimentón in a large bowl and season with plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the squid and toss until well coated in the seasoned flour.
Working in batches, fry the squid for around 3 minutes or until golden and crunchy, then remove from the oil and set aside to drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt as soon as you remove it from the oil, then continue with the next batch. Lightly toast the baguette slices, then assemble the sandwiches by spreading the aioli over four of the slices, then adding the fried calamari. Top each one with the remaining baguette slices and enjoy.