If you love those little crispy bits of deep-fried calamari goodness you order at restaurants, cooking a calamari steak at home can bring some of those tasty flavors to your kitchen. Whether you're a Michelin-star chef or a novice in the kitchen, you can use one of our calamari steak recipes to fry or grill your way to squid perfection.
Selecting Your Calamari Steak
If it's your first time cooking calamari steak, the first step is figuring out where to get it. While you can get a fresh slice from your local fish market, frozen calamari works just as well. Look for frozen calamari steaks in the frozen seafood section of your grocery store.
Calamari steaks come from giant squid. While they have the same seafood meat as calamari, calamari steaks are usually in larger portions.
Preparing Frozen Steak
One of the best reasons to go with frozen calamari steak is that it takes away most of the heavy work. The portions come precut, and you can skip tenderizing the meat. Once you defrost the calamari steak, you can start seasoning it.
Thaw frozen calamari steaks in cold water or overnight in the fridge. Thawing slowly in water helps break down some of the fibrous tissue, which makes the steaks less tough. When it comes to cooking calamari steak, texture is as important (if not more so) than flavor.
Preparing Fresh Steaks
You can also choose to buy fresh calamari if you have a local fishmonger. Calamari steaks are usually tough, though some vendors will tenderize them before the sale. Before cooking, grab a meat mallet and pound the heck out of the steak to tenderize it.
Fried Calamari Steaks Recipe
This recipe captures the crispy goodness of deep-friend calamari and adds tons of delicious flavor. It makes 4 servings.
- 4 large (½- to 1-inch-thick) calamari steaks
- 8 cups (½ gallon) buttermilk
- 3 large eggs
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups Italian-style bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Grated fresh Parmesan cheese
- 1 fresh lemon
- 1 jar marinara sauce, optional
- In a shallow dish, pour the buttermilk over the steaks, making sure the buttermilk completely covers them. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for 12-24 hours to tenderize the steak.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with the salt and pepper.
- Place the breadcrumbs in another shallow bowl.
- Heat the oil in a skillet on medium-high until it shimmers.
- While the oil heats, dip each steak first in the eggs and then in the breadcrumbs. Fry the steaks in the heated olive oil for about 2 minutes per side.
- Serve with Parmesan cheese, lemon slices, and optional marinara sauce.
Calamari Steaks Italiano Recipe
Garlic adds tons of flavor to this calamari steak recipe. It makes 4 servings.
- 4 calamari steaks
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons oil, plus extra for drizzling on the steak
- Freshly ground pepper and sea salt
- Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 lemon, quartered
- Marinara sauce, warmed
- Put the steak on a cutting board and make four to six slits in each steak.
- Stuff each slit with one slice of garlic.
- Rub the steak first with oil, then lightly salt and pepper the steak.
- Cover each steak with panko and let stand for 20 minutes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet on medium-high until it shimmers. Add the steaks and cook until browned, about 2 minutes per side.
- Slice and serve with lemon wedges.
- Top with marinara.
Grilled Calamari Steaks Recipe
This recipe has a Mediterranean spin with the addition of a sauce made with fennel, roasted red peppers, and kalamata olives. It serves 4.
- 1 cup chopped fennel bulb (optionally save the fronds for garnish)
- ¾ cup chopped roasted red peppers
- ¼ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 4 (4- to 5-ounce) calamari steaks
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Make the Salsa
- In a small bowl, combine fennel, roasted red peppers, red onion, kalamata olives, olive oil, and parsley until well mixed.
- Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
Prepare and Grill the Calamari
- Heat the grill to medium-high. Brush calamari steaks with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Grill steaks, turning once, for about 2 minutes per side or until just opaque in the center.
- Serve immediately topped with the salsa.
Explore the Versatility of Calamari Steaks
Once you've mastered the art of calamari steak, it's a versatile ingredient. Wow a dinner party by adding the protein to a cold salad, using it as a hot main, or make it a grilled appetizer for a unique spin on dinner.