2011, Recipe 87: The Ultimate Greek Salad with Grilled Calamari

Recipe courtesy of Tyler Florence

10 small whole calamari, bodies only (3/4 to 1 pound)
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved, or one large tomato, cut into wedges
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 medium cucumber, thinly sliced
½ pound feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup kalamata olives, pitted
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
Lemon wedges, for garnish

The vinaigrette serves as a marinade for the calamari and dressing for the salad.

Start by rinsing the calamari tubes and patting them dry. Place the calamari in a medium bowl.

To make the vinaigrette, whisk together the oil, vinegar, garlic, dried and fresh oregano, thyme, and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Pour half the vinaigrette over the calamari and set the rest aside while you make the salad.

Put a large grill on the stove over medium-high heat, or preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal grill and get it very hot.

Combine the tomatoes, onion, cucumber, cheese, olives, and romaine in a large bowl. Pour the remaining vinaigrette over the salad and toss to combine.

Lightly oil the grill pan or grates of the grill with canola oil (take a few paper towels and fold them over several times to make a thick square. Put a small amount of oil on the paper towels, then carefully and quickly wipe the hot grates of the grill to make a nonstick grilling surface). Put the calamari in the grill pan or on the grill and cook for 2 minutes per side. Cut the grilled tubes into rings.

To serve, arrange the salad on a large platter and scatter the calamari on top. Garnish with fresh oregano leaves and lemon wedges.

Results: Delicious!  Photographed horribly but tasted great!  Butchering the calamari was... overwhelming.  I had no idea what I was supposed to keep and what I was supposed to discard.  And they just look sort of scary.  But it came out great!  I was pleased that I followed the cooking times precisely and it wasn't at all rubbery!