Calamares a la Romana – Tapas: Fresh Mediterranean Squid Rings in Batter a Great Starter or Entree

Fresh squid can be found in profusion all over Spain, tapas of battered Mediterranean squid rings are as popular in the bars of Madrid as in the beach-side restaurants of the coastal areas.

It has been said that nowhere does better fried fish than Spain. It’s the simplicity of fresher than fresh produce cooked without fuss, or is that holiday freedom of sun, sand being pampered that makes it so good?

Now you can try that fresh cooked sensation at home, these neat little squid rings might not beat that holiday feeling but once you’ve battered and fried your own calamares you’ll be doing it again.

Squid is usually available all year and if you can find already cleaned and sliced squid rings that’s great – if not a little picking over and cleaning is worth the end results.

What to look for when buying squid.

Squid is fresh when it smells like the sea but not fishy or strong. It should be firm and glossy not dull and sagging and should be used the same day that it’s bought. If you can’t buy fresh squid then frozen squid is also good and has the advantage of being slightly more tender as the firm muscle fibers are broken down somewhat in the freezing process.

Mediterranean Squid Rings In Batter

Ingredients – For 4 people

  • 500g squid
  • 2 lemons
  • 75g flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Olive oil for frying
  • Salt


  1. If the squid hasn’t been cleaned, gently separate the mantle (also called the tube) from the head, then scoop out and throw the interior of the mantle away. With a sharp knife, cut off the tentacles below the eye and cut it all up into fairly evenly sized pieces.
  2. Put the squid pieces into a bowl and cover with the juice of the lemons and a dash of olive oil.
  3. Leave for at least 30 minutes in the lemon juice to tenderize the meat.
  4. Put the eggs into a small bowl and beat them well and the flour in another bowl, then coat each piece of the squid in the egg first then the flour. This stage may be repeated again for a really thick and crispy batter – or just to use up the egg and flour.
  5. Heat the olive oil gently in a small frying pan – don’t let it reach smoking point.
  6. Fry the calmares in the oil until golden brown and crispy.
  7. Lift out, drain on kitchen paper and serve.

Serving tip

Garnish with crisp bright green salad leaves and lemon wedges

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