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grilling California, Italian, mediterranean
Calamari Bruschetta With Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, and Mint

Photo by: Joseph De Leo
Comments: 0


Calamari, or squid, were historically a major fish resource for California, especially around Monterey Bay. Overfishing, climate changes, and other factors have significantly reduced the squid population off the California coast.

In cooking calamari there is no in-between—either you cook them very briefly or simmer them fir a long time. Anything in between results in a tough, chewy, and thoroughly uninteresting (not to say inedible) product. This recipe uses the fast-cook method and can also be done under a hot broiler if you don’t want to fire up the grill, but the smoky flavor the grill adds is a real plus. This is also a wonderful mixture to use, without the toasts, on hot or cold pasta dishes.

Yield: Serves 4


  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus additional for the toasts
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound cleaned small calamari bodies, separated from tentacles
  • 3 or 4 medium-firm ripe plum tomatoes, halved and seeded
  • 1 small red onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 tablespoon roasted garlic
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • Red wine vinegar
  • 4 ounces aged goat cheese or feta, crumbled
  • 1 crusty Italian or French baguette, cut into ½-inch-thick slices
  • Small fresh mint leaves and Fried Capers  for garnishing (optional)


In a large bowl, combine the 1/3 cup olive oil, lemon juice, basil, 1 teaspoon salt, and a grinding or two of pepper and whisk together. Add the squid bodies and tentacles and marinate for 1 hour at room temperature.

Prepare a charcoal fire or preheat the broiler. Remove the squid from the marinade and reserve the marinade. Over hot coals or under the broiler, grill the bodies and tentacles until they just begin to firm and turn opaque, only a few minutes. Be careful not to overcook or the calamari will be tough. Slice the bodies into bite-sized rings and the tentacles into bite-sized portions. Set aside. (Do not refrigerate.)

Add the tomatoes and onion to the reserved marinade, stir to coat, then drain and grill briefly. Coarsely chop them and then put them in a large bowl with the calamari, garlic, mint, chives, vinegar, and the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the goat cheese. Lightly paint the bread with the remaining olive oil and grill over hot coals until lightly toasted with grill marks. Put a heaping tablespoon or two of the calamari mixture on each toast and garnish with a mint leaf and Fried Capers, if using.


Recommended Wine

The classic combination of goat cheese and Sauvignon Blanc is further enhanced by the fresh mint and seafood in this dish.

© 1995, 2007 John Ash and Sid Goldstein

Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving, one 16oz loaf of crusty Italian baguette, and does not include optional fried Capers for garnishing.

838kcal (42%)
154mg (15%)
26mg (43%)
144mcg RAE (5%)
277mg (92%)
1189mg (50%)
10g (49%)
44g (67%)
6mg (35%)

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