Cooking Calamari Steaks


Calamari doesn't just come in rings; when sliced long, fishmongers create flat pieces of calamari called a steak, which can be prepared very quickly in a hot pan or very slowly in sauce in the oven. When overcooked, the meat contracts, making it tough. If the calamari is cooked over a long period of time, the meat eventually breaks down and becomes soft again. When calamari is served between these stages it is tough and rubbery.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh or frozen calamari steaks
  • Tenderizing mallet
  • Sharp knife
  • Metal pan
  • Flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Paper towels
  • Tomato sauce
  • Oven proof dish


  • Defrost frozen calamari steaks in cold water for 12 hours or in the refrigerator overnight.

  • Pound fresh calamari steaks lightly with a mallet to tenderize. Score steaks diagonally both directions, creating a diamond pattern which will prevent the meat from curling.

  • Pat dry with paper towels. Coat lightly with flour, salt and pepper right before cooking.

Quick Method

  • Lightly coat metal pan and heat to medium-high on the stove. Coat the pan with vegetable oil.

  • Lay the calamari steaks in the hot pan; do not crowd.

  • Cook for one minute on each side until the steaks just turn from translucent to opaque. Do not overcook or they will become tough.

  • Remove from pan and serve.

Slow Method

  • Heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • Lay calamari steaks in baking dish.

  • Cover with sauce of your choosing; tomato sauce works well.

  • Cook for 1-2 hours until soft.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use fresh calamari the same or next day of purchase.
  • Soaking calamari in buttermilk in the refrigerator overnight will further tenderize the meat.
  • Do not thaw calamari in cold water longer than 12 hours out of the refrigerator.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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