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Grilled Calamari recipes?

Thinking about switching from fried to grilled this Christmas Eve, I never grilled calamari though. I am mostly concerned with not over or under-cooking. it Any ideas, insight, recipes, etc.? I'll be using a Weber if it matters.

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  1. I am all-ears on this subject as well! Any tenderizing ideas - unusual maybe?

    1 Reply
    1. re: kare_raisu

      This one might not go down too well but... Freezing squid helps to break down some of the colagen(???) Well whatever the stuff that makes squid squid is. Not too popular with the purests but... (Besides I normally get squid in a 5kg box so...)

    2. I've grilled stuffed calamari before. It doesn't take very long, maybe a few minutes each side. You can stuff them with just about anything. Some things I've tried and liked are feta and sun-dried tomatoes, ricotta and spinach, Couscous, even chopped clams, or scallops.
      Use tooth picks to close them up. Brush with a little olive oil and grill.
      Be creative.

      1. There's only two ways to cook calamari - quick and very, very well done. Anything in between is like rubber bands.
        I sometimes stuff it with a precooked shrimp "paste" (shrimp, scallions, garlic and ginger) and then grill it quickly. The other way is the usual 'rings' and tenacles. just enough to get grill marks.

        1. Two different kinds of "calamari".

          Steaks cut from jumbo squid and whole from market squid.

          1. Cleaning calamari yourself is a nighmare from hell. If you want tubes and the squiggly bits, it's well worth paying someone else for that part.

            To keep them from being tough, sear them on high heat QUICKLY - not much more than a minute on each surface. To keep the tubes from getting too curly, gently score them. They're delightful, particularly over a salad of mixed baby greens, lightly dressed. Jamie Oliver uses them a lot - check out his recipes, for example:

            Marinated Squid with Chickpeas and Chilli
            6 medium-sized squid, gutted and cleaned 1 (14-ounce) can of chickpeas or use 6 ounces dried ones, soaked and cooked until tender
            1 small knob of fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
            About 4 glugs of extra-virgin olive oil
            Juice of 2 lemons
            2 fresh red chillies, seeded and finely sliced
            Salt and freshly ground black pepper
            1 handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
            1 handful of fresh cilantro, torn

            You can ask your fishmonger to clean the squid for you and score it in a crisscross pattern. This will allow your marinade to get right in there. In a hot griddle or frying pan, or over the grill, sear and char the squid. It should take about a minute for the white flesh and a little longer for the tentacles. Remove and slice the white flesh of each squid into 3 or 4 pieces, leaving the tentacles whole. Put the rest of the ingredients, except the herbs, into a bowl, then add your squid while still hot and toss everything together. Just before serving, throw in your herbs and check again for seasoning.

            Yield: 6 to 8 servings

            1 Reply
            1. re: rcallner

              how long are you marinating?

              is squid one of those things where the longer your marinate the better? or does it 'cook' like ceviche if you leave it too long?

            2. I'll 'cook' if you leave it if the marinade has acid in it.

              Someone must be very squeamish to say cleaning squid is "is a nighmare from hell" - it's very easy. Pull the 'head' and tentacles from the body. Discard the parts aft of the tentacles and remove the beak, if any. Pull out the quill, rub the skin to remove the outer membrane, rinse and, if you so wish, cut up the body into rings. Thats it. No biggie here!

              1. Well, ok, "nightmare from hell" is a bit of hyperbole, and I have personally experienced cleaning squid and countless chickens and other formerly moving things, but I'm really happy to have someone else render the limp and complicated, large-eyeballed things into tubes and tentacles.

                Marinading would be about 15 minutes at room temp, up to an hour in the fridge. It's an easy recipe, quick and light, and the squid flesh is very delicate.

                Also, you could try dusting them lightly in seasoned potato and rice flour and then quickly frying them in about 1/4 inch hot canola or peanut oil. Drain quickly, sprinkle with a good sea salt like Maldon, and fresh lemon juice, and you have a much lighter version of fried squid than the typical restaurant version. Serve immediately, or just stand there by the stove and devour. (More like I used to get in Italy as a kid.)

                1. I sure don't mean to make light about cutting up squid but after a lot of deer, wild turkey, fish of all sorts (and using squid for bait!) and other critters I've bagged and cooked, squid is, to me, not a big problem. I helped my grandfather butcher cattle, pigs and chickens when I was a kid so I buy bulk and butcher my own stuff.
                  There's a great recipe for squid in the NY Times Video archive - Vietnamese squid with Pepper. Look it up and try that!

                  1. if you're not frying my favourites are...
                    1 clean them, open them down the 'seam' then crisscross them finely on what was the inside (do 'cut' the edge but don't be so heavy handed as to cut right through the main flesh - if the edge isn't cut they don't curl so well). Heat a pan, add a ilttle oil then flash fry them scored side down. You may have to push down on them, the pan needs to be really hot so you get a little colour on them before they curl up. (The idea is that they do curl) Serve with potatoes of almost any description and some grilled chorizo. Ooo do remember to season them before frying!

                    2 and this only applies to small squids (body under 10cm long) clean them, turn the bodies inside out (otherwise they allegedly explode, I find turning them inside out helps with the cleaning anyway so I've not experimented!), make a stuffing. I use homemade well seasoned and herbed breadcrumbs which I bung in the processor along with the tentacles and stabilizers (?) until I have a smooth mixture, pipe the stuffing back in to the bodies, close them with a toothpick. bbq or grill pan the bodies for a couple of minutes each side, you should get char marks but the filling also needs cooking. If you want to check seasoning of the stuffing fry a little piece in some oil (one of the best tips I've ever received). I like to serve these with a tomato and basil (with garlic) rough sauce.