This dish can be prepared on a charcoal grill or in a cast iron pan or griddle. Just make sure, in either case, the temperature is good and hot, so the calamari cook very quickly. For easy handling, especially on the grill, 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. Here’s a link to a Youtube video with some helpful tips on selecting the freshest calamari at the seafood counter.
- 8 medium squid (about 3 pounds)
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over the cooked squid, if you like
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Chopped fresh Italian parsley
Clean calamari, leaving the skin on if you like (as I do).
Toss the cleaned calamari bodies and tentacles, ¼ cup olive oil, the garlic, 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 you have hot, glowing coals. Or heat a wide cast iron skillet or griddle over high heat until a drop of water bounces and sizzles.
Lay the squid onto 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, turning once, until golden on both sides, about 6 minutes.
Transfer to a warm platter and drizzle with additional extra virgin olive oil, if you like.
Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.