Spanish street food to beat the heat: José Pizarro’s deep-fried calamari sandwich

Spanish Street Food To Beat The Heat: José Pizarro’s Deep-Fried Calamari Sandwich Spanish Street Food To Beat The Heat: José Pizarro’s Deep-Fried Calamari Sandwich
The classic 3am snack from Madrid: José Pizarro’s deep-fried calamari sandwich
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By Lauren Taylor, PA

“For me, this is best sandwich in the world, and – top tip – it’s the most incredible hangover food,” says José Pizarro. “People seem surprised to learn that some of the best and freshest seafood in Spain can be found in Madrid.”

The chef worked in Spain’s capital in his early 20s. “I had a brilliant time exploring the nightlife and partying, and then discovering places to get something to eat afterwards – this was the best way to discover some incredible street food.”

It was the El Mercado de San Miguel where he discovered the best bocadillo de calamares. This recipe is an ode to it…

Deep-fried calamari sandwich

(Serves 2, takes 25 minutes)

For the aioli:
1 free-range egg yolk
1 garlic clove, crushed finely
Grated zest of 1 lemon, plus juice to taste
1tsp white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
Pinch of sea salt
150ml olive oil


For the calamari:
1L vegetable oil or light olive oil, for deep-frying
120g plain flour
1tsp pimentón de la Vera
500g small squid, cleaned, tentacles removed and body sliced into rings
1 crusty baguette, cut into 4 pieces and each one halved
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Calamari sandwich (Emma Lee/PA)


1. Begin by making the aioli. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, garlic, lemon zest and vinegar. Season with a good pinch of sea salt. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking constantly, until you have a thick, luscious aioli. Add lemon juice to taste and set aside.

2. To prepare the calamari, pour the oil into a large saucepan (you want it to be half full). Heat to 190°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 20 seconds. While the oil is heating, mix together the flour and pimentón in a large bowl and season with plenty of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the squid and toss until well coated in the seasoned flour.

3. Working in batches, fry the squid for around three minutes or until golden and crunchy, then remove from the oil and set aside to drain on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt as soon as you remove it from the oil, then continue with the next batch. Lightly toast the baguette slices, then assemble the sandwiches by spreading the aioli over four of the slices, then adding the fried calamari. Top each one with the remaining baguette slices and enjoy.

The Spanish Home Kitchen: Simple, Seasonal Recipes And Memories From My Home by José Pizarro is published by Hardie Grant. Photography by Emma Lee. Available now.

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