Grilled Calamari and Cumin

Jul 28th, 2010 | By | Category: Appetizer, Featured, Greek, Greek Grill, Herbs, Lent, Meze, Olive Oil, Oranges, Spices, Squid

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).

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.

© 2007-2010 Peter Minakis

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27 Comments to “Grilled Calamari and Cumin”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kalofagas Greek Food and Omar Habib, Byron Conway. Byron Conway said: @Kalofagas: Grilled Calamari and Cumin […]

  2. One of my favorite ways to eat calamari

  3. Linda says:

    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!

  4. Katherine says:


    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.



  5. Rosa says:

    what heavenly flavors! A mighty delicious dish!



  6. brian_in_gib says:

    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.

  7. Lizzie says:

    Wow – beautiful presentation!

  8. ELENA says:

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

  9. What a great way to slice the squid tubes – it all cooks evenly and looks amazing.

    Wishing you safe and happy travels to Greece

  10. Joan Nova says:

    I love the presentation of this dish Peter. Cumin is a surprise spice for a grilled fish. I’ll have to try it.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. I prefer it grilled over fried… you really get a taste for the squid. I’ll have to try this Peter. Have a great trip!

  14. kat says:

    It looks absolutely stunning too

  15. Looks like a pretty necklace!
    btw, I listed the site who invented the turkish coffee machine; turkish may have to be omitted in Greece though.

  16. My mouth is watering! I’ve paired cumin with whitebait and found it very delicious. I love the use of orange in this too! Mmmmm.

  17. BananaWonder says:

    I really like the idea of cumin on the Calamari. Intense and smokey. I’ll take an ouzaki with that!

  18. Katie says:

    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.

  19. Darina says:

    Lately, I’ve been on a calamari bender. Can’t seem to get enough. I will definitely try this.

  20. Cynthia says:

    Words cannot begin to describe my intense jealousy of your freshly grilled calamari.

  21. Lori Lynn says:

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

  22. Lorna says:

    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.

  23. This definitely is one of my favourite dishes when Im in south europe. I love calamri, pulpo and all this stuff you get almost for free there. Oh my god, I need holidays. Thanks for reminding me…

  24. patty says:

    I made this dish….awesome!!! particularly with yogurt dip recipe!!! loved it!!!

  25. Sarah says:

    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?

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