Grilled Lemon & Garlic Calamari


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2013

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.


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!


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