This summer, I’m grilling out more than ever. Aside from being a lover of all things hot and humid, I’m still trying to shake the chill from Snowmageddon 2014. Was that not the worst? Okay, maybe not a big deal for some of you. But for this Deep South girl, it was catastrophic. For the life of me, I cannot understand how people endure that type of weather year after year. I’ll take the sweltering heat, runny makeup and sweat-stained clothes over that any day! Which brings me back to the grill, on my deck, under the blazing sun.
As of late, I’ve been doing most of my cooking outside. I’m preparing full meals for both lunch and dinner. And I’m grilling everything and anything. When I’m rushed, I throw familiar suspects, like chicken, pork and corn, on the grates. On laid back days, I introduce the grill to more foreign fire foods, like soft shell crabs, okra and watermelon. I love experimenting. Just last week, I broke out some frozen calamari. I know many people shy away from preparing calamari at home but it’s easy, especially if it’s already cleaned and you follow the two tenets of calamari cooking–either cook it low and slow (like in a braising liquid) or hot and fast (as in grilling or frying).
Now this is an afterthought. But when I when to shoot the calamari for the site it looked a little boring. So I ended up “staging” it over a bed of arugula. Oh my! The fresh, peppery bite of the arugula was a nice finishing touch. I’ll bet the two of them together atop slices of lightly charred French bread would make for some really inviting Grilled Calamari and Arugula Crostini!
Grilled Calamari Recipe
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 pounds squid, cleaned with tentacles
Prepare grill for direct cooking over high heat. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and next 8 ingredients (through cayenne). Pat squid dry and separate bodies and tentacles. Place in a large bowl and toss with two-thirds of marinade; reserve remaining one-third. Grill squid, turning occasionally, until lightly charred and cooked through, about 3 minutes.* Serve on a bed of arugula with reserved marinade drizzled on top. Makes 6-8 servings.
*If using frozen squid that has already been sliced into rings, cook on a greased grill pan so squid doesn’t fall through the grates.