Whole squid are made for stuffing, but the filling doesn’t need to be exotic. Here, a simple mix of cauliflower and yam is spruced up with fresh garden herbs. Puffing up proudly and blushing when grilled, the fat bellies of these stuffed calamari are impressive, substantial and fun.
Stuffed Calamari with Cauliflower, Lemon and Yam – Pan Fried or Grilled
No time for chit-chat? Scroll down for the recipe.
The baby squid are back in season! They’re not always available – at least not where we live – and when I see them back in their trays at the fishmongers I get all excited. They’re lovely little things. I like them when their hollow, rubbery bodies are just 10 centimeters / 4 inches from wiggly head to rounded bum. As with sardines, I ask Daniele or Arianna to clean them for me, chopping out the beak and removing the long, transparent straw. And then, again as with the sardines, I give them a good rinse as soon as I get them home. I don’t use the tentacles for the stuffing, though there’s no reason why you couldn’t chop them up fine and add them as you’re frying the cauliflower and yam. I prefer to freeze them so that I can add them later to a seafood laksa.
We easily eat five puffed stuffed calamari each, and so this quantity of filling is enough for 10. It there’s any left over, I just fry it up on the side. There’s a wee trick to stuffing them: Hold one edge of the opening in a pinch between your finger and thumb. That way you can use another finger to open the pouch, slip the teaspoon in and stuff the filling down. Stuff it all the way down, as much as you can, and then seal the opening with a toothpick.
Stand back as you’re frying them in the hot oil – they’ll spit and pop as they puff up and cook through. They’ll turn pink. Wait for them to get a little charred. Serve them hot with a crisp salad, and maybe with some cauliflower rice on the side.
On the Side
Fresh Fried Sardines – They’re so easy and so good – once you know, they’ll become part of your weekly meal plan.
Calamari and Prawn Laksa – An AIP, allergy-friendly version with lovely, healing notes of lemon and ginger.
White Fish in a Creamy Coconut Sauce – One of our staples, this is a beautiful recipe for any kind of white fish fillet.
This recipe has been shared on The AIP Recipe Roundtable.
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- 10 calamari, about 10 centimetres / 4 inches long, heads removed and cleaned
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 cup yam (or potato), finely diced
- 1 cup cauliflower, finely diced
- ½ stick celery, finely diced
- ½ cup green leek leaf, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons bone broth
- ½ cup mixed fresh parsley, thyme and fennel fronds, minced
- 1 tablespoon pinenuts (omit for the AIP Elimination Phase)
- Rinse and pat dry the calamari. Check that the transparent straw from the inside has been removed.
- Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frypan. Add the yam, cauliflower, celery and leek and sautè gently. As the yam starts releasing it's starch, add the broth a tablespoon at a time. Keep stirring until the vegetables have softened and the yam is cooked, about 10 minutes. Add the fresh herbs towards the end of the cooking time. Turn off the heat and allow to cool
- Lightly toast the pinenuts in a small frypan over a very low heat. Chop them roughly and add to the cauliflower filling.
- Take a teaspoonful of filling. Holding one edge of the calamari opening between your index finger and thumb, use another finger to hold open the lip and stuff the filling into the cavity. Press it down and repeat until the calamari is full. Bind the opening with a toothpick.
- In a separate frypan, heat the remaining olive oil. Add the calamari, taking care as they'll spit and pop a little whilst cooking. Turn a few times until they're pink and charred.
- Serve hot with a crisp salad, and enjoy.