Grilled Calamari

img_4750For those that have been fortunate enough to visit Greece and enjoy some of the world’s freshest seafood, you would have been offered calamari either fried or in this case, grilled.

I didn’t always eat calamari (squid) but the deep-fried variety is what converted me. However, grilled squid (or calamari) is what cemented my love for this cheap, easy and delicious seafood dish.

Squid can be found at practically every fish & seafood store and most of what’s available has been frozen at some point. Buying frozen is perfectly fine. Just buy from a fish monger that has a good trade and of course, a high turnover to ensure the freshest supply.

Grilled calamari makes for a wonderful first course, it’s great as a shared appetizer, I’ve made calamari souvlaki or it can be served on a bed of seasonal greens as a salad and made into a light dinner.

Wine pairings are pretty straight-forward…a crisp white with some acidityimg_5033-1 plays best against the seafood and the “ladolemono” or oil and lemon sauce. This past week at the all-day tasting of Greek wines, I had the pleasure of enjoying some wines from all over Greece. One of the whites that I sampled comes from the Glinavos Winery, located in Zitsa, Epirus (north-western Greece).

I tasted the Primus Zitsa 2008 white which is made from another indigenous Greek varietal, called the Debina grape. This light, fruity wine would go very well with grilled calamari and there’s just enough acidity to hold up to the lemon juice.

Let’s get on with the squid. Before one can eat it – one must clean it. I took the time to take snaps of each of the steps to follow when cleaning squid.

  1. Pull apart the tentacles from the main body.img_4724-1
  2. Cut off the part of the tentacles section from the eyes and part that was attached to the main body. Discard and reserve the tentacles.img_4725
  3. From the tubular body, pull out the thin, transparent spine of the img_4727-1squid and discard. Stick your finger in to fish out any remaining guts and any broken spine pieces.
  4. Snip the small end of the squid tube, peel and rub the purple skin of the body and now run under cold water to remove any remaining residue inside the tube. The water should pass through the tube freely once you’ve removed everything.
  5. Now, if you want your squid to have that accordion-like look with the rings still all miraculously attached to the same squid body, take the handle end of a wooden spoon or spatula and slide it inside the tube.img_4730-1
  6. Now using a sharp knife, slice your squid horizontally and when done, take the wooden spoon/spatula out. The wooden handle inside the squid tube prevented that part of the squid from being sliced – this keeping your calamari in tact.
  7. Give your squid tubes and tentacles one more rinse under cold water and pat dry. Now you’re ready to grill your squid.

Grilled Calamariimg_4769

(makes 1 appetizer serving)

2 medium-sized squid (tubes and tentacles), cleaned

sea salt

ground black pepper

1 clove of garlic, minced

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

juice of 1/4 lemon

1 tsp. dried Greek oregano

  1. Pre-heat your gas or charcoal grill to high heat. Drizzle your squid with some olive oil, add the minced garlic and sprinkle some sea salt and black pepper. Toss to coat all the squid.
  2. Place the tentacles on wooden skewers (little chance of losing this part of the squid through the grill). Ensure your grill surface has been brushed to remove any residue and wipe the grill with some kitchen towel that’s been dipped in vegetable oil.img_4755
  3. Place your calamari tubes and skewered tentacles on the hot grill and cook for a couple of minutes a side.
  4. Remove from the grill and blend your olive oil with the lemon juice and Greek oregano. Adjust seasoning and drizzle over your warm calamari. Sprinkle the calamari with sea salt and some more Greek oregano and garnish with a lemon wedge. Serve with some good, crusty bread.img_4760

If you are not reading this post in a feed reader or at then the site you are reading is illegally publishing copyrighted material. Contact me at truenorth67 AT gmail DOT COM. All recipes, text and photographs in this post are the original creations & property of the author.

© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis

© 2009,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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52 Comments for “Grilled Calamari”


I’m there for dinner!!!! Save some for me ;D.
Chico, I’m seeing your green light at the google mail and thinking, I should say hi, I should say hi… but, there’s always a but… I have to leave now. Those calamari look fabulous :D


I am so used to making only stuffed squid or fried squid but this is a brilliant alternative, especially with summer coming up. Your step by step directions to cleaning squid are great too. I usually leave that chore to my husband or my son.


Thanks for the instruction on how to clean and prepare the squid. I’m always a bit worried about getting it wrong and therefore never really buy any. Maybe next time I’ll dare to be brave now.


Thanks for this post. I have been wanting to make this and like all your tips on how to cut it, etc. I will be grilling some next week.


I’ll take grilled over fried any day of the week! Especially when it’s sitting in olive oil and lemon juice. Love the way you fanned the body! P.S. I must admit to buying already cleaned calamari at the fish store.


This sounds absolutely amazing! I love calamari and have always eaten them deep-fried. The grilled version sounds devine. Mmmmm


That looks amazing. I love grilled calamari too … and your slicing technique (with the wooden spoon) s great. Thanks for the tip!


I don’t actually like the deep fried calamari, just because you can’t really taste the squid, which I love! I adore its mild seawater aroma and its clean texture (when done right, of course!) I like my squid grilled or stewed and this looks perfect! Thanks for the photo tutorial on how to prep them :)


Now that’s a sexy plate of Calamari! Looks so good… and I’m glad you gave the step by step with this. It’s been a long time since I’ve cleaned them. ;-)


Although I’ve eaten grilled kalamari and it’s delicious I have never attempted to make it myself. Must try this one soon.


Dear Peter, how are you??? your food always amazing and nice Im coming always but not comments I think you are so budy, but I want to let, a lot of good whishes, xxGloria
I love seafood! is the best I think!!


It’s funny how you said that you started eating calamari after eating the fried variety. I was at a post-work happy hour with my coworkers a few years ago. A friend’s husband was buying me drinks and then he bought a plate of fried calamari. Apparently this anti-seafood girl was chowing down on it declaring, “I don’t care. It’s fried and I’m drunk.” I don’t know if I was drunk, or I just blocked out my memory of eating calamari. :-D

I love your presentation. The tentatcles-on-a-stick look awesome.


Oh my goodness it looks amazing! So lovely and charred from the grill too. I really need to get some calamari on my BBQ this summer.


Man, there is nothing in the world I like better than grilled squid in warm weather. We just can’t get enough of it- I think I even prefer it to fried. The spoon trick is clever, too.


Even though I know how to prepare squid (it’s common in Chinese cuisine), it’s great that you’ve taken the time to illustrate and describe it for those who might not be so familiar with the technique. Look forward to trying this on the BBQ when the weather improves over here!


I could not be happier to see this post. Just last week our local supermarket (VONS for those of you in SoCal) just started carrying a line of frozen calamari. I tried it, in a tomato-y stew. It was really really good. But my all time fave is grilled, and so here I have your recipe YAY, cannot wait to go by some more and use your instruction. Thanks a bunch Peter!


Calamari wouldn’t normally be at the top of my “favorite foods” list, but a well-prepared calamari is delightful! This looks very good indeed! Love your blog, thanks for sharing!


You’ve made me a believer that I might be able to actually do this. Never in a million years would I know how to clean squid. Thanks for the schooling!!

Grilled sounds like a nice option to the more popular deep fried version (for those of us who are watching our waistlines).



What a fantastic idea! I love Calamari and cook it every other week for Sunday dinner. Never thought of grilling it before. I’ll definitely try it! As for the seasoning, I have always used Simply Greek’s Fish & Seafood Seasoning when I fry up Calamari. I think it would taste even better with the squid grilled!


OMG…does this look good. My husband would be in heaven if I made this.

Thanks so much for the directions on cleaning and how to slice the large calamari. I had no idea!!

Great post.


I. Love. Calamari!!! I absolutely adore that tentacled delicacy, and will always willingly sample it. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find here and when it does make an appearance, it’s very expensive. I’ll have to see if I can find it frozen. Your slicing tip using the wooden spoon is downright genius!


Grilling is my fave way of eating calamari too. Luv your step by step instructions on how you clean & cut the squid. I wish I can have a bite now =P


I just made this recipe and thought it was delicious! My wife got squeamish when she saw all the tentacles and wouldn’t eat much, but that left all the more for me. Thanks for the write up.



I made this for dinner tonight (since we’re fasting for Easter) and needed an easy calamari recipe. It was so simple and delicious!! Thank you!!

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