1 tablespoon olive oil
½ medium red onion, diced
1-3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tablespoon dried oregano
½ tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons tomato paste
12 ounces pureed tomatoes
1 pound of squid (thaw first, if using frozen)
3 whole eggs, beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon dried herbs
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
2-3 cups panko bread crumbs
Over medium-low heat, start the marinara sauce. In a one-quart sauce pan, add olive oil, onion, crushed garlic, herbs, red pepper flakes, tomato paste and pureed tomatoes. Stir well to combine and cook slowly over low heat while you prepare the calamari.
Make sure the bills have been removed from the inside of the calamari tubes. Cut the tubes into 1-inch slices.
Assemble the breading station by beating 3 eggs well in one bowl and set aside. In another bowl, add the flour, herbs, salt and pepper. In the third and last bowl, add the panko bread crumbs.
Heat a heavy bottomed saucepan or wok over medium-high heat to a preferred temperature of 350 degrees. If you do not have a thermometer, heat the oil over medium heat and then test one of the breaded calamari. If the oil does not rapidly bubble as the calamari is lowered into the oil, turn the heat up and wait a few minutes. You never want to see the oil begin to smoke. That would be too hot.
Bread the calamari pieces one at a time, first in the flour, then the egg, and lastly in the panko. Set aside as you finish breading all of the pieces. Fry the calamari a few at a time for 30 seconds to 1 minute, turning as necessary to brown all of the sides. When nicely browned, remove the calamari from the oil with tongs or a slotted spatula and let drain on either paper towels or a cooling rack placed over a sheet tray. Serve with wedges of fresh lemon and the warm marinara sauce.
Serves four to six.