Hunter and Barrel explores why calamari is such an incredible dish and four of the best sides to enjoy with it.
What is Calamari?
Calamari is essentially the Italian word for squid, but generally it refers to a sumptuous entrée dish where the squid is either grilled or deep fried. It’s become hugely popular all over the world and available in places like Hunter & Barrel steak restaurant Dubai. The calamari meat is white and firm with a mild, slightly sweet flavor that allows it to be wonderfully enhanced by batter, spices, and marinades.
Is Fried Calamari Healthy?
Although any sort of fried food may have some drawbacks in terms of healthiness, there are actually a lot of health benefits from eating the meat. Calamari is rich in protein, containing around 18 grams of it per 100 grams of fried meat. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B-12, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and copper. Plus, it also contains plenty of antioxidants which help the body fight free radicals and increase the efficiency of cells.
How to Cook Calamari Rings
When cooking calamari, it’s best to tenderize the meat first by pounding it gently on both sides using a mallet or heavy skillet; but be careful not to tear the flesh. Then slice into rings of your desired thickness and add any batter or marinade. After it’s appropriately marinated or battered, deep fry on a high heat for between 30 seconds and two minutes.
However, if you’d like some beautiful, crispy calamari without any fussing around, we have taken it to another level with our ‘spicy calamari’ at Hunter & Barrel. This irresistible dish boasts Szechuan marinated calamari with lemon that is fried to absolute perfection. Or if you’re not in the mood for spice, we also make scrumptious grilled calamari, served on herbed potato with basil calamata sauce.
What to Serve with Calamari
Now that you know all about calamari, let’s have a look at the best side dishes to enjoy with it.
Chips or Wedges
You can’t go wrong by pairing the ultimate fried side dish with your mouth-watering fried calamari. Make the entire meal a crunchy delight with this combo, and it allows you to try a variety of sauces if you wish, given that calamari, as well as chips and wedges are particularly suitable for dipping. At Hunter & Barrel steak restaurant Abu Dhabi we offer both triple fried ‘chunky chips’ and ‘baked potato wedges’ with red onion, garlic and rosemary, that are superb choices to order with our spicy calamari.
If you’d like a lighter and healthier side dish with your calamari, then salad is a fantastic option. Our gorgeous ‘green forest salad’ features mixed leaves, baby gem lettuce, radish, cucumber, soft herbs and house yoghurt lemon dressing that not only tastes great, but can help offset the heat of the calamari if you want to control the spiciness of your experience.
Chargrilling is an amazing way to boost the taste and texture of vegetables so that even the pickier eaters can appreciate something healthy. It’s an underutilized cooking method for vegetables that really transforms them into a sensation for the tastebuds. The crispiness also makes them an ideal accompaniment for calamari, whether it’s fried or grilled. At Hunter & Barrel, we’re renowned for our seasonal vegetable dish that is simply but expertly chargrilled with freshly ground black pepper and olive oil.
Roasted Cauliflower and Pumpkin
This is a magnificent vegetable combination that brilliantly complements calamari. When done correctly, the roasting process produces cauliflower and pumpkin that is spectacularly crispy on the outside and luxuriously soft on the inside. Our coal roasted vegetable dish is one you absolutely have to try, which includes cauliflower, honey roasted pumpkin, Harissa sauce, herbs and olive oil.