350g calamari (about 2 small calamari)
60g plain (all-purpose) flour
vegetable oil, for frying

This might just be the ultimate warm-weather cicchetto. Just-fried, too hot to touch, you can often find fried calamari at a bàcaro strung on a skewer together, or sold in yellow paper cones, and it needs nothing more than a glass of cold, bubbly prosecco next to it. You can also find this as fritto misto, mixed fried seafood, which might include pieces of fish or whole tiny fish known as latterini or atherine, and crunchy whole prawns (shrimp), to be eaten head and all. But we are particularly fond of calamari; it is my daughters’ favourite. The trick to this very simple dish is to have very fresh, small calamari and to fry in small batches – not crowding the pan keeps the oil hot, which means a crunchy coating.

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1.Rinse the calamari and make sure they are cleaned.
2.If the fishmonger did not do it for you, you can clean them by pulling off the head; use just the tentacles and cut off the part with the eyes.
3.Pull out the beak, which you will find in the middle of the tentacles.
4.Reach into the body and carefully pull out the glassy, plastic-like quill inside and any guts or ink sac.
5.Pull off the wings and, as you do that, you should be able to now easily pull off all the skin, which is like a very thin membrane.
6.Rinse well, so you have just an empty white tube and the tentacles.
7.Cut the calamari into 1½–2cm rings. You can leave the tentacles as they are or cut in half lengthwise.
8.Coat them completely in the flour (sometimes it helps to coat them first entirely in half of the flour, then follow with the rest of the flour and toss again).
9.Place enough vegetable oil in a small, deep-frying pan or saucepan so that it is at least 3cm deep and bring to a medium heat (about 170°C/340°F if you have a candy thermometer).
10.When it is hot enough, the surface of the oil should look as if it is shimmering. The bottom of a wooden spoon inserted in the oil should immediately be surrounded by energetic, tiny bubbles.
11.Drop several pieces of calamari into the hot oil (but not too many at once; you want the pan to be no more than half full) and turn halfway through if needed, until the flour coating is a light golden colour and crisp looking, about 1 minute total.
12.Drain on kitchen paper and immediately sprinkle with salt.
13.Continue with the rest of the calamari and serve while hot.

This is an edited
extract from Cinnamon
& Salt by Emiko
Davies, published by
Hardie Grant Books,
RRP $45. Available
in stores nationally.
©Emiko Davies