I love calamari when I've had it in restaurants, and I'd noticed that my local Whole Foods sells cleaned squid at a fair (for Whole Paycheck) price. So this weekend I bought a pound of just the bodies. I'll eat the tentacles when served them, but if I don't have to eat something that reminds me of spiders, I won't.
Squid are kind of scary.
I looked around for recipes for grilling squid, and found several that looked interesting. I decided I wanted to stick with Italian flavors this time. One recipe was in Mario Batali's Simple Italian Food, for a stuffed grilled calamari; and the other was a Bobby Flay recipe I saw online. I changed ingredients in both to suit my tastes and dietary needs but kept the basic technique, and they were delicious. Tomato paste is great to use as a low fat way to add flavor and moisture to recipes. A definite do-over. I'd happily do the stuffed ones again; and for the grilled plain ones, I think I'd grill them whole, then slice into rings for serving .
Grilled Stuffed Calamari (adapted from a recipe from Mario Batali)
12 large cleaned squid bodies
1 chopped onion
1/2 Tbs. olive oil
4 chopped cloves garlic
1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1 Tbs. pine nuts
3/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 diced scallion
2-3 Tbs. tomato paste
2-3 Tbs. white wine
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan
chili flakes, salt and pepper to taste.
1. Put the calamari into a pot of water, and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down, and let very gently simmer for one hour. Drain, rinse in cold water to chill.
2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan. Saute the onion, and then add the garlic. Saute for 2 minutes, then add the sundried tomatoes, pine nuts and bread crumbs. Stir and cook until crumbs just begin to brown. Add the rest of the ingredients. Add just enough of the tomato paste and wine so that the mixture will lightly stick together. Let cool.
3. Stuff each tube with some of the stuffing, and use a toothpick to close the wide end. Lightly brush the outsides with oil.
4. Grill on a hot grill for 2 minutes each side. Don't overcook. Sprinkle with chopped basil and serve.
Grilled Calamari (adapted from a Bobby Flay recipe)
8-9 whole squid bodies
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3-4 Tbs. olive oil
4 cloves chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes
1. Using a sharp knife, slice open one side of each calamari body, so that you get flat triangles.
2. Weave each flattened calamari onto a skewer, so it lies flat.
3. Mix the vinaigrette from vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Take out and reserve 1 Tbs. of it. Pour the rest over the calamari, making sure each is coated with vinaigrette. Marinate for 20 minutes.
4. Grill on a hot grill, 2-3 minutes per side. Sprinkle with the reserved vinaigrette and parsley before serving.