The primary ingredient in any fish preparation must be super- fresh fish. Nowhere is that more evident than in grilling calamari. This dish can be prepared on a charcoal grill or in a cast- iron pan or griddle, but in either case, the temperature should be good and hot, so the calamari cook very quickly. For easy handling, thread the calamari bodies onto a skewer— one or two per skewer, depending on the size. (Thread the tentacles onto a separate skewer, without crowding them, since they will need a few additional minutes to cook.)
- 8 medium squid (about 3 pounds), cleaned, leaving skin on
- ¼ cup extra- virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the cooked squid if you like
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed hot red pepper
- Chopped fresh Italian parsley
Toss the cleaned calamari bodies and tentacles together with the olive oil, the garlic, thyme, salt, and crushed red pepper together in a bowl, until the calamari is coated. Cover the bowl, and marinate in refrigerator for 1 hour, or up to overnight.
Prepare a charcoal grill well ahead, so it is hot, or heat a wide cast- iron skillet or griddle over high heat until a drop of water bounces and sizzles. Lay the squid on the grill or in the skillet. Set a heavy skillet on top of the calamari to weight it down so as much of the calamari as possible makes contact with the hot grill or skillet. (This makes it easier for the calamari to cook evenly and brown well.) Cook, until golden on one sides, about 4 minutes, then flip and cook 3 minutes on other side.
Transfer to a warm platter, and drizzle with additional extra- virgin olive oil if you like. Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley, and serve immediately.