This calamari, which gets dredged in a sweet cinnamon coating and served with spicy mayo as a counterpoint, is the perfect example of the Argentinian-Italian seafood-focused cuisine you'll find at Martina in Minneapolis. The only downside at chef Daniel del Prado's Linden Hills showstopper of a restaurant is the decision paralysis you'll inevitably face when reading the menu—just rest assured that it's impossible to go wrong.
Cinnamon Fried Calamari
Recipe adapted from Daniel del Prado, Martina, Minneapolis MN
Yield: 2 to 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
For the Toasted Chile Oil
¼ cup canola oil
¼ teaspoon chile flakes
2 whole garlic cloves
For the Spicy Mayo
1 cup Kewpie mayo (or any other storebought mayo)
¼ teaspoon ground chile flakes
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
¼ cup toasted chile oil
For the Calamari:
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons chile powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
2 pounds squid
2 tablespoons roughly chopped pickles (such as giardiniere)
Lime wedges, for serving
Salt, for serving
1 serrano pepper, thinly sliced, for serving
Cilantro, for serving
1. Make the toasted chile oil: Combine all the ingredients in a small pan. Heat on low heat until the chile flakes release a toasty aroma and darken, being careful not to burn. Immediately transfer to a blender or crush in a mortar and pestle until it reaches a puree-like consistency.
2. Make the spicy mayo: In a medium bowl, combine the mayo, ground chile flakes and rice wine vinegar. Slowly drizzle in the toasted chile oil and stir until incorporated.
3. Make the squid: Bring a pot filled with about 3 inches of oil to 350°F. Meanwhile, thoroughly sift all the dry ingredients for the calamari to combine. Mix about 2 cups of cleaned and sliced tubes of squid, plus some tentacles, into the dredge mixture. Add the pickles and let sit for 60 seconds to let the dredge adhere to the squid.
4. Fry the squid for 90 seconds, then place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Serve with lime wedges, salt, serrano peppers, cilantro and the spicy mayo.