The Ultimate BBQ Seafood Treat: Grilled Calamari
Squid's probably just about the last thing you planned to put on your grill, but grilled calamari actually tastes pretty good
Tuesday, July 04, 2017
So... can I interest you in a little grilled calamari?
I don't know about you, but personally, I can't hear the term "calamari" without thinking about Admiral Akbar in Star Wars. You might remember that his species was the Mon Calamari, though basically they looked like giant two-legged fish.
But I digress....
It's a Trap!
In case you were unaware, those succulent-looking, golden-brown rings that Italian restaurants serve as calamari are nothing less than deep-fried squid. Of course, as Eddie Murphy once pointed out about French, everything sounds better in Italian.
In any case, once you get past the idea of the tentacles and ink, calamari is actually pretty darned tasty. It's especially good grilled, and not nearly as fatty and carb-laden as the deep-fried version.
An Interesting Notion
Before we start with the grilling, a little side note. The thing about calamari is that you use only the squid's cleaned-out, tubular body for the dish. I've had some calamari where they left in the chopped-up tentacles, and that grossed me right out.
So: do your best to obtain just the calamari "tubes," as chefs call them. If you have to work with the whole beastie, it's best to save the tentacles for your next Chinese dish, or give them to someone else who can enjoy them. Like the cat.
Here's what you'll need for a mess of salt-and-pepper calamari that can serve 2-4:
1 pound of calamari tubes
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of ground white pepper
1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of onion powder
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
Your first decision is how to cut the calamari. Personally, I like 'em in rings. Like onion rings, but squid-flavored. In that case, all you do is slice up the tube crosswise. Other chefs prefer to slice open the tubes lengthwise, squish them flat, then cut them into long strips.
However you do it, makes sure they're as dry as possible when you're finished, then dump them into a bowl and coat them with the oil as evenly as possible. Then mix the spices together in a smaller bowl, add to the oiled calamari, and toss the calamari in the spice mix until it's evenly coated.
Heating it Up
After brushing your BBQ grill lightly with a little oil, cook the calamari at medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side. Don't overdo it, or the squid will get rubbery. Then lay it out on a platter and squeeze the lime slices over it. Yum! If you want to add more flavor, dip your grilled calamari in your favorite BBQ or hot sauce.