Hot Summer Nights. Calamari Fritti in Fretta.

The season is hotting up, in both senses of the word. Mr Tranquillo, my current Cabana Boy, refuses to don the appropriate costume or demeanor as he attempts to get the pool functioning in time for a sizzling hot weekend. My adult daughter sips her white wine as she ponders the thought of her father as Cabana Boy. She announces that she doesn’t want to go there, the thought is just too ‘gross’.

Whenever these hot evenings string out for too long, dinner preparation must be super fast. I had calamari fritti on my mind. As my daughter left before the meal, her black eyes glared from the car ” Don’t send me a photo, it’s not fair!”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese lovely molluscs were acquired from the Queen Victoria Market on the best day of the week, Tuesday. In terms of Melbourne’s catch, this is the first day of the week, when the fish are still jumping fresh.  The fishmongers at the Vic Market are happy to clean your purchase.

Calamari Fritti con Rugola in Fretta ( for two)

  • 2 big handfuls of wild rocket/rugola
  • 3 spring onions, sliced, including green end
  • 1 chilli, chopped finely
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped finely
  • a little olive oil
  • 400g freshly prepared calamari, sliced, including tentacles.
  • cornflour
  • salt and pepper
  • five spice powder
  • neutral tasting cooking oil, such as canola, for frying.
  1. Prepare the salad base. Arrange the rocket leaves and toss with the spring onions on a serving platter.
  2. Make a quick dressing. Crush the chilli and garlic with some salt in a mortar and pestle. Add some olive oil. Lightly dress the leaves.
  3. Heat a fryingpan or wok and add some oil. Toss the calamari slices in cornflour mixed with salt and five spice powder. Cook the calamari in batches, tossing well, for around one minute. Using tongs, drain well on paper towels.
  4. When all the calamari is fried, toss through the salad leaves.

Serve with lemon wedges.


It is heartening to know that calamari is a sustainable seafood here in Victoria. The rubbery frozen tubes sold in supermarkets are not worth buying unless you fancy eating fried condoms. These usually come from Asia or the USA.  If you do choose to buy these from the supermarket, ask about the source.

The following is a great site to check out the sustainability of Australian seafood.


Song plant.  Ooo Ooo, Ooo Ooo Ooo, Ooo Ooo, Ooo Ooo, Ooo,  Hot Summer Nights.



16 thoughts on “Hot Summer Nights. Calamari Fritti in Fretta.”

  1. Ha ha….my current cabana boy is refusing to co-operate as well. Can’t get good help. This calamari totally looks the business and I love that website. One of my roles in a former life was creating recipes to promote under utilised and sustainable seafood. (Totally wasted on my vegetarian cabana boy!)


      1. Oh lord, my ideas were probably exciting back when we were marketing WA sardines. I remember butterflying them and topping with a breadcrumb, olive oil, garlic, herb (sage, thyme) lemon zest crumb and baking in oven. Also a sweet and sour type onion, vinegar, sultana dressing. I once pan fried them with a Moroccan style side sauce. I love them with stronger flavours. Those wee oily wonders. Not sure if that helps at all!

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Hahaha, we laughed out loud at your intro, helped along by a couple of glasses of vino and having been victims of our own offspring’s ridicule. Didn’t you know parents are asexual? Love super fresh local calamari. We’re at AB, only imported frozen stuff here, unbelievably they say there is no demand!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I hate that. Our waters are full of lovely cala and squid. You watch the old Greeks pulling the lovely creatures out of the water. They have a knack. And there’s that big fish shop at AB devoted to lobsters living in tanks ready to go somewhere else. Not fair!


    1. My daughter does her fair share of hungry photos back to me. It is a mutual stirring thing.
      The fish supplies are very good in NZ I noticed last May. But when I’m there, I can’t stop eating coramandel smoked mussels.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, so gorgeous Francesca. I’m late seeing it but glad I didn’t miss it altogether. I know that glare one can get from a daughter who is about to miss out on a favourite meal!!


  4. Love the idea of a personal cabana boy! Have been eyeing calamari in the market, but at this time of year (winter here), your slow cooked stew you posted earlier is what I was thinking. Must, however, bookmark this post for summer!


    1. I love the slow cooked calamari or squid in winter with peas. As you can probably tell, I really love calamari any old way at all. I am about to go to my favourite beach, close to the best seaaood fishing fleet on the East coast so there will be more fishy offerings.


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