Region: Italy, Sicily
Difficulty: Labor Intensive
This is a popular preparation in the province of Messina in Sicily. The simplest way to grill squid is to clean them and marinate with olive oil, parsley, and salt and pepper for 1 hour, then grill for 20 to 30 minutes. For this stuffed version some people also add eggs or raisins or leave out the cheese. Italians also eat cuttlefish, which they catch while still small. The cuttlefish available to us are much bigger and better suited to being cut-up and grilled rather than stuffed.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
8 large squid (1 to 1 1/4 pounds), cleaned
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup dried bread crumbs
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1. Cut off the tentacles off the squid below the eyes and chop the tentacles finely. In a skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat, add the bread crumbs and chopped tentacles, and cook, stirring, until the bread crumbs begin to turn golden brown, about 7 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and toss with the garlic, parsley, and season with salt and pepper, mixing well. Toss again with the mozzarella.
2. Mix the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil with the oregano and a pinch of salt and pepper.
3. Prepare a medium-hot charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill for 15 minutes on medium-high.
4. Dry the squid well. Stuff loosely with the filling and close the opening with a toothpick. Brush with the seasoned olive oil, place on the grill, and cook for 15 to 17 minutes on each side, basting with the seasoned olive oil occasionally.
Variation 1: After stuffing, leave the squid to marinate, covered, in the refrigerator for 2 hours in 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon vinegar, salt, and pepper.
Variation 2: In Sardinia, cooks stuff the squid with 1 cup bread crumbs, 4 squid tentacles, boiled for 3 minutes and finely chopped; 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley; 2 finely chopped garlic cloves; 6 finely chopped anchovy fillets and salt and pepper.