- 2 cups buttermilk
- Several dashes hot sauce
- 1 1/2 pounds calamari, cut into rings
- Vegetable oil, for frying
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cornmeal or masa harina
- 1 tablespoon Emeril's Original Essence or Creole seasoning, plus more for sprinkling
- Marinara Sauce (or your favorite store-bought marinara sauce), for dipping
Stir buttermilk and hot sauce together in a large bowl or shallow pan. Soak calamari in buttermilk mixture for 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, fill a large, heavy bottom Dutch oven no more than halfway full with oil and heat to 360 degrees.
Combine flour, cornmeal, and the Essence in a shallow pan or bowl. Remove the calamari from the buttermilk mixture and toss in the flour mixture to coat completely. Shake off any excess flour. Carefully add the calamari, in batches, to the hot oil and fry until coating is crisp and golden, about 1 minute. Do not over-crowd the pan when frying. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Season with additional Essence and serve immediately with the Marinara Sauce for dipping.