Retro feta stuffed grilled calamari recipe

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One of the great seafood mezedes of the Greek table is calamari (squid) served in almost any way, shape, or form. But a particularly easy and dramatic preparation is stuffing a whole squid with feta and herbs, then scoring it like ribs and serving it on a platter, the cheese oozing, tummies growling, appetites stirring, exactly what is supposed to happen when you sit down for a meal of mezedes. It’s a bit retro, in that it’s a classic one rarely finds nowadays in the seafood tavernas of, say, Athens, but readily encounters in less urbane eateries all over Greece. It’s easy to make at home, too.

  • Yield: 4 to 6 Servings(meze)


  • 1 pound (450 g) squid, preferably fresh, cleaned (6 to 8 pieces, 6 to 8 inches / 15 to 20 cm long)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin Greek olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 red or yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ cups (225 g) crumbled Greek feta
  • ½ cup (50 g) coarsely grated graviera or Kefalograviera cheese, or any mild, nutty sheep’s-milk cheese
  • ½ cup (120 ml) fresh anthotyro or ricotta cheese, drained
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh dill
  • ½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh mint
  • 1 medium egg
  • 1 teaspoon crushed pink peppercorns
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 to 6 tablespoons plain dried bread crumbs, as needed
  • 2 lemons, quartered
How to Make It
  1. Keep the cleaned squid in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until wilted and lightly golden. Stir in the garlic. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool.
  3. Add all the cheeses, the lemon zest, dill, mint, and egg to the bowl with the onion and toss to combine. Season with the pink peppercorns and salt and black pepper to taste. (The mixture will likely be salty enough with the feta, so you may not need to add any.)
  4. Stir in 2 tablespoons of the bread crumbs to help bind the mixture. Test it by shaping a small ball with your hands; if it is still too loose to hold its shape, add more of the bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon at a time, until firm enough. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes to help firm it up.
  5. Remove the squid and filling from the refrigerator. Stuff each of the squid tubes with enough of the filling to come up to about ¼ inch (6 mm) from the top so that when the stuffed squid shrinks during cooking, it doesn’t burst. Using a toothpick, close the open end of the tube securely.
  6. Heat a grill until quite hot or heat a grill pan over high heat. Brush the grill grates or pan with a little olive oil. Place the stuffed squid and tentacles (separately) on the grill or in the hot grill pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, turning with kitchen tongs a few times, until lightly browned all over. Transfer to a platter.
  7. Serve as is or, for a more dramatic effect, using a sharp knife score the top of each squid tube so that the surfaces fan open a bit, revealing the cheesy filling. Remove the toothpick and serve with lemon quarters.

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