Grilled Calamari

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 3 hr
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 2 hr
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 appetizer portions
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1 1/2 pounds cleaned squid (about 3 pounds whole) tentacles separated from the bodies, rinsed and patted dry

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves

2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

8 new potatoes, cut in 1/2

1 small loaf focaccia bread, sliced

Green and Nicoise olives, pitted and chopped

Essence, recipe follows

Chopped parsley, garnish

Lemon wedges, garnish

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika

2 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon dried oregano

1 tablespoon black pepper

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dried thyme


  1. Cut the squid bodies along the sides to open flat. With a thin sharp knife, lightly score the insides, being careful not to cut through all the way.
  2. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Add the squid bodies and tentacles, toss to coat, and marinate for 2 hours, refrigerated, turning twice.
  3. Preheat the grill to high heat.
  4. Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and set aside.
  5. With a pastry brush, lightly coat both sides of the sliced bread with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Place the bread on the hot grill and cook until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes. Arrange on a large platter.
  6. Grill the squid, turning until opaque, slightly golden, and just cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the squid to a cutting board and slice into strips. Slice the tentacles if desired.
  7. Place the squid on top of the grilled bread and top with the chopped olives. Arrange potatoes decoratively around squid. Lightly drizzle with additional extra virgin olive oil as desired, sprinkle with Essence and parsley, and serve with the lemon wedges on the side.

Emeril's ESSENCE Creole Seasoning (also referred to as Bayou Blast):

Yield: 2/3 cup
  1. Combine all ingredients thoroughly.
  2. Recipe from "New New Orleans Cooking", by Emeril Lagasse and Jessie Tirsch. Published by William and Morrow, 1993.