What is Calamari?

Calamari is one of the most popular menu items at Salerno’s Pizza. There are plenty of good reasons why, which we’ll explain. Calamari has become a family favorite for our Chicago and Bolingbrook customers. 

But what is calamari? Why does it taste so good? How do people make it? We’ll answer these questions and more!

calamari fried

What Part of the Squid is Calamari?

Now you know what is in calamari, but the questions likely don’t stop there! What is calamari made of? What part of the squid is calamari?
  • Calamari is typically found in a ring shape. This is because the body of the squid is sliced thinly, creating rings that are the perfect size for frying. Though the tentacles are sometimes used in restaurants, the rings are what most Lyons diners imagine when picturing the dish.
  • Calamari has a mild flavor with a slightly sweet note, which makes it the perfect base for sauces. Generally, you’ll find calamari with options like our signature marinara sauce or garlic aioli to add zip.
  • Though there are hundreds of squid species around the world, there are only a select few used for culinary purposes. Only around a dozen squid species are consumed by seafood fans. And while wild squid can reach up to 80 feet in size, most culinary-grade squids are around a foot in length.

What Is Calamari as an Appetizer?

Calamari is the Italian word for squid. Seafood? Yes, many Mediterranean dishes have become staples in Italian restaurants, and calamari is one of them. You may not recognize calamari as squid thanks to its crispy batter coating! While the Italian dish is one of the best known, squid is a popular dish throughout the world, most prominently in Europe and Asia. Squid is enormously popular as a sushi topping in Japan.

In Spain, Italy, and Portugal, squid can be found as the protein served with pasta, rice, and soups as well as mixed with vegetables like peppers and onions. In Asia, you’ll find grilled, deep-fried, and stir-fried squid, sometimes even cooked whole!

What Squid Are Caught for Calamari?

For our calamari in Oak Park, we purchase from suppliers who process a select few squid species for culinary dishes. There are around 300 squid species in the world, but only around 10 are consumed by humans. Calamari comes from squid around a foot long that stay relatively close to the top level of the ocean, so don’t expect to eat a giant squid (anywhere from 12 to 80 feet long) as calamari anytime soon! That’s because giant squid dive more deeply into the oceans, so their body chemistry generally doesn’t taste good to humans.

What Does Calamari Taste Like?

Calamari has a mild flavor with a slightly sweet note, and its texture is slightly chewy. Because of its mild flavor, calamari forms the perfect base for sauces like marinara sauce or garlic aioli to add zip.

Is Calamari Good for You?

Calamari is both a delicious appetizer at Salerno’s Pizza, but is it nutritious? Squid is a great source of protein, but it is also packed with vitamins and minerals. Iron, potassium, phosphorus, and B12 can all be found in a serving of calamari. So the next time you place an order, don’t forget to add this crowd favorite!

How Long Does Calamari Stay Good For?

Unlike other seafood, calamari actually freezes well. You can store cooked calamari in the fridge for a few days as leftovers. If you want to freeze it, you can store calamari in the freezer for two months.

Place Your Order at Salerno’s Pizza Today

We’ve gone through what is calamari and why it’s so popular, so why not give it a try at Salerno’s Pizza? Whether it’s your first order of calamari or your hundredth order, we’re always happy to share our family recipes with you! Contact us with any questions, or order online in the Chicago area.  
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