Grilled Calamari

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Grilled squid with lemon juice, parsley, and extra virgin olive oil

Grilled calamari or squid is a great alternative to fried calamari and is ideal for the summer months.  My favorite way to prepare fresh squid is to marinate a few pounds of the well cleaned fish in lemon juice, parsley, et. al. and then quickly cook on an outdoor grill (the smokey flavor derived from a wood burning fire compliments the neutral taste of squid).

Whole squid prior to cleaning

Ingredients:

  • Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid (about 3 pounds whole) tentacles separated from the bodies, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher salt to taste
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Bunch of parsley, finely chopped
Marinade and sauce for grilled calamari - including parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper


Process:

Clean the whole squid well, rinse, and pat try. If you’ve never cleaned whole squid before I recommend you watch this excellent how to clean squid video.  You can also purchase cleaned squid “tubes” from a reputable fish shop or market (but you won’t get the tasty tentacles, et. al.).    In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and zest, chopped parsley, garlic, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper (save about a 1/4 of the mixture for dressing later on). Add the squid tubes (and tentacles) and mix well.  Cover the bowl containing the fish and marinade and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Next, on a hot outdoor grill, place the squid on your oiled BBQ surface and cook for about 1.5 minutes on each side (for a total of 3-4 minutes depending on the strength of the fire; it’s imperative the squid is not overcooked given that it will quickly turn tough and chewy).  Move the cooked squid to a cutting board and cut into rings.   Toss the rings with the remaining marinade and serve with a tomato salad, olives, sauteed dandelion greens, and good bread.

Grilled squid or calamari that has been tossed with lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, and lemon zest.

If you’re interested in a pasta recipe featuring squid or calamari click here.

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