Seafood is one of the best options to try grilled. Fish is already quite a well known alternative to the many beef, pork and chicken options that many people make at barbecues. Besides scallops though, you might not find many recipes that you can fire up your barbecue to try out. Many great seafood recipes are almost always pan fried, deep fried or baked, leaving less ways on how other seafood can be grilled.
Fortunately, calamari is one of the more versatile options, making it a great option for a grilled dish if you want to impress your guests or family. Calamari – when it isn’t grilled – is often served with a sauce base or deep fried. Depending on which culture’s cuisine you want to try, you can even stir fry calamari for a quick side dish. However, like fish steaks and scallops, grilled calamari can gain a lot from being made on a grill and can be served as both a main and a side dish.
We’ve gathered some great and delicious grilled calamari recipes for you to try and impress your family and friends with in this article. If you need to get a new griddle plate, some seafood rubs or even a brand new grill, you can visit Dickson Barbeque Centre for all that and more!
How to get tender calamari
One feature of calamari is its chewy texture. While many people love eating calamari for that specific reason, when it comes to recipes like batter fried squid rings, or grilled calamari, too much chewiness can make eating the meal more of a wrestling match. To make the meal more enjoyable, many chefs have a quick way to tenderize the squid before you go to grill it, one of which involves grilling it high and fast or low and slow to keep it soft and tender.
If you want to remove some of the chewiness, there are a few different ways you can do so. The first is to use lemon juice, much like many other recipes call for. Due to its citric acid content, soaking the calamari in lemon juice for half an hour breaks down some of the meat’s proteins and makes it tender. Lemon juice is also great since many grilled calamari recipes frequently use it as part of the marinade or for adding brighter flavours to the squid.
You can also use a salt water solution to tenderize the meat. The salt in the water allows some of the water to sink into the squid, effectively making it softer. Much like the lemon juice, salt can also help season the calamari and if you use milk instead of water, you can remove any excess fishy smells.
Simple grilled calamari
One great grilled calamari recipe is a surprisingly simple one as well. To make this version of some simple grilled calamari, you’ll need smaller rings and the tentacles. Place your calamari in a bowl and add ground sea salt, ground pepper and 3 cloves of crushed garlic. Give it a quick stir and add the juice of half a lemon. Stir it again before letting the calamari marinate for 15 minutes. When you’re grilling the rings and tentacles, grill on high for about three minutes for each side.
To serve, squeeze half a lemon’s worth of juice over the calamari and sprinkle some chopped parsley for garnish. You want to serve it while it’s still hot, so serve immediately.
Chargrilled calamari rings
If you want to make a dish with rings instead of the tentacles, a great grilled calamari rings recipe you should try is chargrilled rings. While these are typically made to go along with a salad or a few light, leafy greens, you can also adjust this recipe to be its own dish. You need very few ingredients to make this, so if you want to add your own seasonings or even a rub, that can be just as great!
With your squid tubes, cut them into roughly an inch long rings at most. Depending on how many people you plan on serving this to, you want approximately one tube’s worth of rings per person, if you plan to serve it with a salad or other greens. Season the calamari rings with olive oil, salt, pepper and half a lime’s juice. If you want to add other herbs or a rub, do it now.
When your grill’s hot, place the rings down and let them cook for roughly one to two minutes before flipping it. If you don’t like the amount of char built, flip it back over and let it char for another two minutes. Then simply take it off the grill and serve the grilled calamari rings with salad or on its own.
Japanese grilled squid
For a great ethnic twist on calamari, you can easily whip up a batch of Japanese style grilled calamari. Since it’s mostly inspired by more Western-friendly flavours, you’ll more than likely need to visit your local supermarket to get a few ingredients. This recipe calls for the entire squid – or more, depending on how many people you’re serving – cleaned and cut into rings and tentacles.
To season the squid, you can add salt and a little bit of pepper into a bowl and cover the pieces of calamari with it. Then, when you’re ready to grill it, turn the grill to at least 350 degrees Fahrenheit and transfer the calamari onto it. Cook each side for roughly three minutes then flip. While it’s cooking, you can make a dipping sauce from Kewpie mayo, Sriracha and half a teaspoon of miso paste. Once the calamari’s done cooking, serve it with the dipping sauce and cut the squid’s tube into ¼ inch slices if it isn’t already rings.
There are many more ways to grill calamari, much like there are many different ways to prepare and grill all sorts of meat cuts and seafood. As with many seafood dishes, lemon and limes are often key ingredients, providing a way to cut through the richness and oiliness that comes from grilling calamari while also adding flavour. Grilled calamari dishes don’t need to be simple either, so don’t be afraid to explore and try out new flavours.