Easy Calamari Recipe: A Mediterranean Twist

Are you tired of the usual heavy-battered and deep-fried calamari? Well, it’s time to try something new and exciting! This easy calamari recipe brings a light and flavorful Mediterranean twist to your table. Sauteed calamari rings are infused with the vibrant flavors of garlic and finished with a tangy sauce made from fresh lime juice and white wine. A sprinkle of fresh dill herbs adds the perfect finishing touch. And the best part? It comes together in less than 15 minutes!

Calamari recipe with garlic, lime, and white wine, topped with fresh dill

Discover the Versatility of Calamari

Most people’s experience with calamari is limited to the heavy-battered fried rings commonly served at American restaurants. But in Mediterranean cooking, there are countless ways to cook and enjoy calamari. The Spanish add calamari to their paella and other rice dishes, while Italians incorporate it into pasta dinners. Calamari is also a delightful addition to a beautiful Provençal salad. Growing up in Egypt, I discovered many simple applications for calamari, like the saucy recipe we’ll be exploring today.

What Makes Calamari Special?

Calamari is the fancy Italian word for squid, a close relative of octopus. With over 300 species of squid found in the world’s waters, only a select few are utilized in culinary use. Typically measuring less than 12 inches, calamari (or squid) is firm, white, and boasts a mild, slightly sweeter taste. This versatility makes it a perfect canvas for a variety of flavors, as demonstrated in this recipe featuring garlic and lime.

Calamari with garlic-lime sauce served on a platter as an appetizer

Mediterranean-Style Calamari Recipe

In this easy calamari recipe, we do away with heavy batters and deep frying, opting instead for a lighter dish that will whisk you away to the shores of the Mediterranean. We start by quickly sauteing calamari rings with plenty of garlic. Then, we infuse the dish with citrusy notes by adding a splash of lime juice and white wine. Finally, we sprinkle it with fresh dill for a burst of flavor. If dill isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute with mint, parsley, or cilantro.

Calamari platter

How to Make Calamari: A Step-by-Step Guide

Leftovers? While it’s unlikely you’ll have any, if you do, it’s best to refrigerate them in a tight-lid container. However, I don’t recommend reheating calamari, as it tends to become rubbery.

Where to Find Calamari?

Calamari rings are conveniently available in the freezer section of most well-stocked grocery stores. Simply thaw them properly in the fridge overnight before use. Alternatively, you may come across fresh squid tubes that are cleaned and ready for use. Remember, fresh squid should have no fishy smell. If it does, leave it behind. Once you bring it home, wash and pat it dry, then cut it into rings for this calamari recipe.

Serving Suggestions

This calamari recipe makes the perfect warm appetizer when served with sliced French baguette or crostini. For a simple dinner, try pairing it with your favorite grain or plain small pasta like orzo, or even Lebanese rice. Complete the meal with some grilled vegetables or a refreshing fattoush salad. Alternatively, incorporate this calamari as part of a grand seafood feast alongside other dishes like roasted red snapper, mackerel, Sicilian fish stew, or baked salmon.

More Recipes to Explore

If you enjoyed this calamari recipe, be sure to check out these other mouthwatering Mediterranean dishes:

  • Crispy Fried Calamari
  • One-Pan Mediterranean Baked Halibut and Vegetables
  • Mediterranean Chickpea Farro Salad with Shrimp
  • Greek Baked Meatballs: Soutzoukakia
  • 15-Minute Garden Flatbread Pizza

And remember, for more culinary inspiration and delightful recipes, visit BDK Restaurant.

This post first appeared on The Mediterranean Dish in 2015. It has been recently updated with new information and media for readers’ benefit.

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