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Perfect Gluten-Free Fried Calamari à la Scoma's

Servings 4
Author Gordon Drysdale


  • Rice bran oil, peanut oil, or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1-1/2 pounds calamari, cleaned and sliced into tentacles and ½-inch-wide tubes
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, plus 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, for garnish (optional)
  • 1 recipe Cocktail Sauce à la Scoma's (below; optional)
  • 1 recipe Tartar Sauce à la Scoma's (below; optional)


  1. Heat 3 inches of oil in a medium pot over medium heat until it registers 360°F on a candy thermometer. Don’t have a candy thermometer to test the oil’s temperature? See if it’s ready by dipping in a wooden spoon handle or a wooden chopstick; if the oil surrounding it produces a steady, but not vigorous, stream of bubbles, it’s hot enough.

  2. In a nonreactive bowl, mix together the calamari and the vinegar and let macerate for 10 minutes. Mix in the baking soda and wait until the frothing subsides, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place the rice flour in a bowl.
  4. Drain the calamari well. Toss it in the rice flour to coat, immediately remove it, shake off any excess, and fry in batches, stirring occasionally, until light brown, about 90 seconds. With a skimmer, remove the calamari and briefly drain on paper towels.
  5. While still hot, transfer the calamari to a bowl. Season with the salt, oregano, lemon juice, and parsley. Serve immediately with lemon wedges and cocktail and tartar sauces.