Grilled Stuffed Squid

Here’s a surprisingly easy and totally tasty summer grilling idea. The hardest part of the meal will probably be finding whole squid/calamari tubes, but I lucked out and found calamari tubes already cleaned and frozen at a local grocery store. I adapted this recipe from my Savoring Spain & Portugal cookbook and threw it together for a summer dinner in nearly no time at all. Marinating the squid in buttermilk was the longest step, but that’s really the secret to tenderizing it. The recipe is easily scalable for fewer squid (I scaled it to one-third for my dinner). Pair this with a crisp white wine and amaze your dinner guests! 

Grilled Stuffed Squid (Lulas Recheadas)

For the squid:
12 medium or 16 small squid, cleaned
4 cups buttermilk (or 4 cups milk plus 4 tablespoons lemon juice)

For the stuffing
¼ cup olive oil (2 oz.)
1½ cups chopped yellow onion (7 oz., 2 medium)
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup chopped prosciutto (3 oz.)
1½ cups fresh bread crumbs (3 oz.)
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 oz.)
6 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper (to taste)

For the dressing:
1/3 cup olive oil (3 oz.)
3-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (up to 2 oz.)
2 tablespoons dried oregano

Tenderize the squid by soaking them in buttermilk for at least an hour. Leave the squid bodies whole and dice the tentacles. In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg; set aside.

In a medium pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ham, tentacles and breadcrumbs. Stir until well blended, about two minutes. Add the lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper (to taste).

Add this mixture to the bowl with the beaten egg. Mix well and allow it to cool. Mix together the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake well.

Rinse the buttermilk from the squid and pat dry. Stuff the squid with the cooled filling and skewer the tops closed with toothpicks. Brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a grill to medium-high heat, (400 to 450 degrees F). Grill the squid, turning once, until firm and light grill marks appear, about 3 minutes on each side.

Shake the jar to mix the dressing well again. Place the grilled squid on a serving platter and spoon the dressing over them.

 

Step by Step Details

This recipe works great if you can find frozen calamari tubes, like these.

Thaw them and then soak them in buttermilk for at least an hour to really tenderize them. This is the secret to tender-as-pasta squid vs tough-and-rubbery-squid. If you don’t have buttermilk, just at 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to every one cup of milk: use enough to adequately cover all the squid.

Leave the squid bodies whole and dice any tentacles or non-stuffable parts of squid. I didn’t have tentacles but found a couple pieces either too small or too damaged to stuff, so I just diced those. I prepped the rest of my ingredients while the onions sautéed.

Warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Add the garlic, ham, tentacles and breadcrumbs. Stir until well blended, about two minutes. Stir in the the lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper (to taste). Add this mixture to the bowl with the beaten egg.

Mix well and let the stuffing cool. Mix together the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake well. Be sure to shake it again just before serving.

Rinse the buttermilk from the squid, pat dry and stuff with the cooled filling. I found it easiest to just use my fingers to really push it down to the bottom.

Skewer the tops closed with toothpicks and brush each side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Heat a grill to medium-high (400 to 450 degrees F). Grill the squid, turning once, until firm and light grill marks appear, about 3 minutes on each side.

Place the grilled squid on a serving platter and spoon the dressing over them. Pass extra dressing at the table and, if you have some, add a couple sprigs of fresh oregano as a garnish.

The squid should be almost fork tender, and it pairs superbly with a crisp, un-oaked chardonnay like this one from Natura wines.

 

 

 

 

 

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