Tentacles have gone MIA

Now, more than ever, chickens and cows are granted a few more days to graze the fields in order for alligators and kangaroos to take center plate. However, despite this overwhelming rush to serve the more exotic, I was recently disappointed (twice) after ordering a simple appetizer of fried calamari. I thought these restaurants played it safe by omitting, what I claim to be, the tastiest part of the squid – its tentacles. And I make this claim not because I’m trying to compensate for my long overdue appearance on Fear Factor, but instead do so with concrete culinary evidence on my side: the tentacles have more surface area, which makes them crispier, which in my book translates into yummier.

After striking disappointment at both restaurants earlier this month, I knew it was time to build up the courage and re-enter the squid-frying arena. Actively breaking my vow to never fry in my tiny college apartment ever again, I took out a heavy bottomed pot, cranked up my muffled exhaust fan and opened up all three windows of my apartment in (mid-February) Ithaca. In the end, it was totally worth it.

fried calamari

Fried Calamari

(yields 6 appetizer servings)


  • 1 lb. of calamari, cleaned
  • 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • vegetable oil, for deep frying

Putting them all together

  1. Heat vegetable oil to 350 degrees F and prep the squid by cutting the tubes into ½ inch rings and reserving the tentacle pieces.
  2. Season squid with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Flour each piece lightly, making sure to shake off the excess flour. Fry in small batches until golden brown (approx. 1 minute) and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate.
  4. Serve alongside Saffron Aioli.


saffron aioli

Saffron Aioli

(yields approx. 1 cup)


  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. hot water
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste

Putting them all together

  1. Steep saffron threads in hot water for 5-7 minutes.
  2. Place the egg yolks into a food processor and slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil to create an emulsion.
  3. Add the remainder of the ingredients and process until well combined.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made the night before)


10 thoughts on “Tentacles have gone MIA

  1. Welcome to DB! How lucky of you to have received funding for your project – and how exciting!

    Shelby (aka HoneyB)

  2. Hi Tony! So, now you know I need to know how to do those frittatas. I think that could be a really good (aka new & interesting) way to get my 4 yr old to eat more eggs.

  3. tentacles are definitely the best part, but hard to find. does anyone know a place that includes them?

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