Why This Recipe Works
Our tests revealed an inherent problem with our fried calamari recipe: Within minutes, the squid was perfectly cooked, but the breading was only light brown. Boosting the oil temperature improved browning, but the rings were still on the pale side, so to improve the coating’s color, we added cornmeal to the flour. Although cornmeal is not a traditional Italian ingredient in fried calamari recipes, tasters appreciated both the color and crunch it contributed. Cayenne pepper helped the color as well, and the mild spiciness sharpened the squid’s mild flavor.