There is more to do with a whole fresh calamari than just stick it on the grill. This month our editor Katy Fentress has been experimenting with stuffing calamari before consigning it to the charcoal…
I love calamari. No, seriously, I’m crazy about the stuff. Fried, grilled, stewed, heck, I’ll even eat it raw if it’s fresh enough, there is alway a place for calamari and its kind on my table.
In Italy we are lucky enough to have four different kinds to choose from. They are generally classified according to size, although I’m told each one is cephaloid species unto itself. The tiniest, called moscardini, look more like insects than seafood but when deep fried or cooked in a tomato sauce, are possibly some of the most delicious types of seafood in the world.
Here in Kenya, when my friends and I head down to the coast, we usually end up grilling a whole octopus that we have picked up from a local fisherman or woman. However, sometimes we get lucky and some lovely fresh calamari turn up too. The classic Kenyan way to cook calamari is to simply to stick them on the grill and enjoy with some lemon, salt and maybe chili powder. A few months ago, however, I decided to mix things up a bit and try and adapt a Tunisian recipe for stuffed calamari I picked up years ago. If the empty plates were anything to go by, I can safely ascertain that it turned out to be a huge success. I’ve done it twice since; on one occasion I even decided to swap the couscous for rice and was equally pleased with the results.
Either way, this is a pretty simple to prepare seafood barbecue dish to do when you really want to show off to your friends.
2 Large Calamari – cleaned (gutted, skin & head removed)
1 cup pre-cooked couscous
1 cup water
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp smoky paprika
2 tsp cumin powder
1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
¼ Cup Elianto Vegetable Oil
Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl. Boil the water and add to the couscous, covering with a tea cloth. After five minutes lift up the lid and add spices and a little oil. With a fork stir through the grains making sure to separate them and let them fluff up. Leave for another two minutes covered and then add the chopped coriander and rocket. Set aside.
Remove the tentacles of the calamari, finely chop them, fry them in some oil and add to the couscous mix. Stuff the mix into the calamari and seal it with a toothpick. Place the calamari onto a hot grill and turn over after three minutes. Keep turning to avoid burning, when the calamari is covered in grill marks remove and let rest for four minutes. Cut into slices and serve on a bed of rocket.