This grilled calamari dish is something I first made last summer, just before I left for Greece. I’ve come full circle and I’m getting ready to go to Greece again. I’m looking forward to the vegetables from the garden that my family planted, the weekly visit to the farmer’s markets, meeting new friends and some folks who are passionate about their food, ingredients and spirits.
One of the biggest things I’m looking forward to is the sea and the freshest seafood and fish. I probably eat fish or seafood every other day there…get it while I can! I love squid as it’s still affordable, a good product be it fresh or frozen and it’s healthy. This recipe is very simple but the use of fresh ground cumin, orange zest and juice make this dish exquisite. You don’t need alot of cumin and for some reason, squid holds up very well to this earthy spice and it’s one that I think is a winner.
Grilled Calamari and Cumin
8 whole squid (tube and tentacles), cleaned
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
zest & juice of 1/2 orange
2 tsp. of fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp. of Boukovo (dried chilli flakes)
coarse sea salt
dried Greek oregano for garnish
- If your fishmonger hasn’t already cleaned your squid, pull the tube from the tentacles. Cut the tentacles off from the end with the beak, etc and discard (reserve the tentacles. Pull the cartilage out of each tube plus the guts with your fingers. Remove the purple skin from the tubes and you may also tear off the wings from the tube. Rinse the tubes very well, ensuring the insides are clean. Place a wooden dowel or handle end of a wooden spoon in the tube. Ensure the dowel is at the top length of the tube, now slice the squid to create an accordion look (the part of the squid where the dowel has been inserted will keep the squid in tact).
- Toss the squid tubes, tentacles, wings in a bowl with the olive oil, garlic, orange zest, cumin, orange juice, thyme. Toss to coat and place in the fridge for an hour or two. Remove from the fridge to return to room temperature. Pre-heat your gas grill to a high heat, brush the grill surface so that it is residue-free. Wipe your grill surface with an towel dabbed in vegetable oil before grilling.
- Remove the squid from the marinade and discard. Season the squid with coarse sea salt and you may afix the wings and tentacles on wooden skewers (so they don’t fall through the grill).
- Place your squid on the grill over high heat and grill on both sides for 2-3 minutes. Remove, squeeze some lemon juice and sprinkle with dried Greek oregano and garnish with extra lemon wedges.
This dish definitely calls for some Ouzo or Tsipouro (with anise).
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