Closing my eyes, I go back to one of my favorite places. In the distance, waves break on the soft, warm sand as kids float in the salty sea water. Conversations in Italian are buzzing around me, describing in detail the delicious dinner from last night, all while strategizing the next play for scala quaranta. Aromas of fresh grilled seafood linger down from nearby restaurants, inviting me to a lunch date at one o’clock sharp. The Italian Mediterranean is truly magical and has inspired me to revisit and share one of my favorite summer meals.
On the menu this week – grilled calamari steaks served on baby arugula, accompanied by a mouth-watering, fresh summer salsa. Topped with grilled lemon, this recipe is the perfect lean meal for outdoor summer dining with your Bull BBQ.
- While fresh calamari steaks are preferred, steaks can be found in the frozen food section. To properly defrost, place in the refrigerator the night before. For best grilling results, make sure there is no extra liquid on the steaks. I often use a paper towel and press down onto the steaks, removing any extra moisture before brushing with olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper.
- Calamari cooks quickly over a hot fire. Do not overcook; you want to avoid drying the steaks out, which results in a rubbery texture.
- Summer Salsa:
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 each charred corn, kernels removed from cob
- 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 grilled red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon basil, torn into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, good quality
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Grilled Calamari:
- 8 calamari steaks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 grilled lemons, for serving
- 2 cups baby arugula, for serving
- For the Salsa: In a non reactive bowl, add the tomatoes, charred kernels of corn, grilled onions, olives, garlic, parsley, basil, evoo, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Stir and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
- For the Grilled Calamari: Using Bull’s competition lump charcoal and black chimney starter, build a medium-hot fire on the Bison grill. Once the charcoal is ready, spread it out evenly. For optimum charring and direct heat, make sure the adjustable charcoal basket is set as close to the grill grates. Using the Bull basting brush, coat the steaks with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the steaks until they turn opaque, 2 minutes per side.
- To Plate: On a decorative platter, add the baby arugula. Place the grilled calamari and lemon on top of the greens. Finish with the summer salsa. Squeeze one half of the grilled lemon and enjoy along with a cold glass of crisp, white wine! Cin Cin!
♥ Chef Amy