Grilled Calamari and Cumin

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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

(serves 4)

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

lemon wedges

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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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© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

© 2010 – 2012,
Peter Minakis

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27 Comments for “Grilled Calamari and Cumin”


This looks so delicious…it screams Greece to me. An Ouzo would be lovely right about now…
have a wonderful trip! Take lots of pics!



I haven’t had calamari prepared this way, but know it’s so up my alley. Glad to see you’re still cranking out top shelf cuisine.




Wow Peter, that look’s fantastic. I love the way you’ve sliced the squid and I agree, cumin works wonders here.
Hope you have a great trip. Look forward to your posts.


Αυτό το μεζεδάκι σηκώνει μπόλικο ουζάκι και καλή παρείτσα!!
Ελπίζω να τα απολαύσεις και τα δυο στην Ελλάδα.
Σε περιμένουμε!


That dish does scream “Greece” and it looks terrific. I love squid and cook it too, but have never tried it on the grill or with cumin. Thanks for the idea and have a great trip to Greece.


I love the presentation here too Peter. I will be enjoying a Greek challenge on the BBQ soon, but you know how much I would love to be exploring the country itself.


Love the way you sliced it – part way…. Great way to keep it together for the grill. When we lived in Andorra we often went to Barcelona in summer, There is an area of seafood restuarants on docks jutting out into the Med. The fish was always fantastic…. Plus, eating dinner at midnight, seaside is magical.


Wow! Orange and cumin, sounds like a heavenly match with the grilled squid! You always have such great ideas to perk up the dish!



Was browsing the web and came to your blog through another blog. This recipe sounds great but can you please tell me, is the orange juice, cumin, chilli and thyme part of the marinade or do you brush it on just prior to grilling.



I would love to see a video of you cutting the squid. I’m not sure I understand how it was done. Do you cut it through all the way on one side? Is the down centered inside of the squid or pushed to one side?