All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013
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There is no real recipe here. A shoe box would taste good with garlic & lemon & parsley. Calamari really comes down to those that like it & those that do not – and maybe those that can only tolerate it breaded & fried.
The best calamari I have ever had in my life – and I’ve had the pleasure of having it on repeated occasions – was served to me as a non-menu special a my favorite Manhattan restaurant – Il Bagatto in the lower east side. Here is the picture they post of it on their site:
Holy fuck. It is a glorious thing. Glorious in its fresh simplicity.
The key to pulling this off at home is a real grill rather than a grill pan, lots & lots of garlic, lots & lots of lemon, lots & lots of parsley (yes – as an ingredient – not just a pretty flourish) and very fresh squid. When you buy squid – buy it cleaned! Cleaning squid is labor intensive & really fucking gross. It will turn you off the whole thing. But – cleaned – it looks so pure & innocent. I got $3 worth at my local Ralphs & the stuff was practically angelic looking.
However – THIS squid did have a definite bleachy, funkified aroma so I couldn’t get it into a garlic-lemon marinade fast enough. I am not sure if all squid smells sketchy raw – but I ate this all up both grilled and in my stuffed calamari recipe and I was not rendered ill.
Again – the non-recipe recipe is – marinate your CLEANED squid in a combo of a little olive oil & lots (a dozen cloves – minced) of garlic, the juice of a lemon and some S&P. Marinate for a least 4 hours or overnight.
Then – on a very hot grill – char these bad boys. I found they took quite a while to cook through. Every time I turned them, they poured water out of their little belly cavities. I didn’t like that so I cooked them until that stopped.
Serve with lots of fresh lemon & lots of freshly chopped parsley. Practically zero calories, too! Cheap & dietetic. And kinda fancy. It’s just a win-win-win!