Paleo Fried Calamari

Calamari is cheap, cheap, cheap. I paid $5/lb for wild caught. I know calamari can lend itself to more versatile recipes than just deep frying–but it’s just so goooood, I couldn’t help myself. There are no messy dredging stations and “club hand” simply does not exist.


For the Sauce

  • 6 oz (roughly 1) roasted red peppers
  • couple leaves of basil
  • 2 T olive oil
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt


In a medium sized bowl, mix together the potato starch and a few dashes of salt. In a sauce pot, melt the palm shortening over medium to medium-high heat. The smaller the sauce pot the higher the oil level will be, but the smaller the batches will be, so choose accordingly. Line a pan with a few layers of paper towels and set next to the oil. Blend the ingredients for the sauce together in a blender or small food processor.

While the oil is heating up, make double sure your calamari tubes are cleaned by sticking your fingers inside and checking to see nothing gelatinous is inside. This would be a great task for a little boy, huh? If there is, pull it out and throw it away. Slice the tubes into rings. Leave the tentacle whole.

Working in batches, lightly dredge the rings in the starch and toss them into the oil. Don’t over crowd or they’re all stick together. You want to hear the sizzle and see bubbles. If you don’t, the oil isn’t hot enough. Using a spider or slotted spoon, swirl around the calamari every few seconds until they’re crispy. You’re NOT looking for brown-ness. Browned potato starch tastes burned. Test one or two out if you need to, before pulling the whole lot out. Place on the lined pan and sprinkle with salt.

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  • Reply
    Liz N
    August 29, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    I {heart} this recipe! SERIOUSLY?! Eva will be my do my QC on the cleanliness of the rings…the perfect job for a 5 year old! I had to LOL at the ‘club hand’…I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about. Hee hee! Between the fish sticks and calamari, it sounds like a seafood night is coming up at our house! Got a Paleo-ish recipe for tartar sauce?!

  • Reply
    August 29, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    in which regime are potatos consistent with paleo? I have been avoiding all white potato, including potato starch. Is there a sweet potato starch?

    • Reply
      August 29, 2011 at 3:10 pm

      well–there’s a link in the ingredient list to an article written by (there’s also a follow-up within that article). mark sisson has also written a/b it:

      i do believe sweet potato starch exists, but read the articles and then decide what you think.

      • Reply
        August 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm

        thanks. really useful and interesting. Given the choice, I would prefer to rely on low carb/glucose options but good to know PS is not inconsistent with the approach. I’d rather, be Elrond, however. 🙂

  • Reply
    brandon keatley
    August 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    most of them except cordain’s version…or if you are after a paleo-reenactment…which we are not.

    starchy tubers were likely a staple in the stone age and the are eaten by healthy isolated non-industrialized people to this day. most of our modern food is a product of domestication and simply approximates these things. that is to say…not much is exactly the way it was 10,000 or even 1,000 years ago – if anything.

    if you’re low carbing…by all means keep that in mind. but we don’t believe that starch (glucose) is inherently bad.

  • Reply
    October 6, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    Just made these. They ROCKED!!! Thanks for the great recipes, y’all!

  • Reply
    August 27, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Can you recommend a good alternative to potato starch for these? I’m stationed overseas and haven’t seen it around. Curious if you’ve tried any other coatings, since it’s been a little while since your original post. Thanks!

    • Reply
      megan keatley
      August 27, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      you could try tapioca flour/starch and will likely get a similar result.

  • Reply
    March 1, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Can almond flour/coconut flour/corn starch/buckwheat flour be used instead?

    What would happen if no flour or starch is used?


  • Reply
    June 12, 2016 at 3:16 am

    I like Paleo fried calamari. Much to my dismay, at age 40 my weight began to creep up. I assumed it was because of my age, a slower metabolism and hormonal changes. To change I had tried EVERY diet program, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Atkins as well as medically supervised programs with hunger suppressing medications. Each was successful to varying degrees. However, I ALWAYS gained the weight back. How could this happen? I have been on a weight loss/weight gain roller coaster for the last 20 years. I purchased several Paleo books until I found Nancy’s blog and then my life changed. This is the best overall in information and has great recipes. I have lost several pounds in a couple of weeks. I feel more energized, strong and balanced throughout our days. The best part is, for the most part, no crazy out of reach ingredients, the meals are simple and really tasty…all which fits in very nicely with our busy lifestyle.

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