Lightly smokey and sinfully succulent, this Grilled Calamari with Smoked Paprika and Lime Lentils is a healthy and delicious choice for a light lunch or heart smart summer dinner. Nestled on a bed of tangy green lentils infused with fresh squeezed lime juice, minced shallots and olive oil, the smoked paprika rubbed calamari is quickly grilled on an outdoor barbecue over medium-high heat, until it becomes lightly charred and warmed through. Served with a handful of sautéed cherry tomatoes and garnished with a tumble of baby arugula, this nutritional fibre-rich dish is ideal for svelte summer dining — it fills you up, not out.
Grilled Calamari with Smoked Paprika & Lime Lentils
Recipe courtesy of Chef Nigel Didcock
8 whole calamari, tubes and tentacles
2 tbsp smoked paprika
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 cup French green du puy lentils
1 tbsp lime juice, freshly squeezed
1 shallot, minced
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
12 grape tomatoes
1 bunch baby arugula or mâche, for garnish
Salt & pepper to taste
Place the lentils into a strainer and rinse under cool running water. Bring the stock to a boil in a saucepan, then add the lentils. Reduce the heat to simmer and cover, stirring occasionally, for about 18-20 minutes or until tender. Once cooked, drain and cool the lentils, then, finish with freshly squeezed lime juice, minced shallot, olive oil, salt and pepper, and set aside.
Place the cherry tomatoes in a small sauté pan and cover with olive oil. Add a clove of garlic and three basil leaves. Bring the oil to a simmer, then remove the pot from the stove, cool, strain and set aside.
To clean the calamari, pull the tentacles away from the body of the squid, removing the ink sac, beak and cartilage. Cut the tentacles off at the end of the beak, reserving the tentacles and discarding the hard beak. Using your fingers, pull the clear cartilage out of each tube, tear the purple skin from the tubes and remove the wings, rinsing the tubes very well, to ensure the insides are clean.
To create an accordian-style look, place the handle end of a wooden spoon into each tube. Ensure the dowel is at the top length of the tube, then slice the squid to create an accordion appearance — the portion of the squid where the dowel has been inserted will keep the squid intact. Rinse the calamari body and tentacles under cold water and dry with paper towels, then marinate in the smoked paprika for 45 minutes. To cook the calamari, place the bodies and tentacles on a preheated outdoor grill over medium high heat until tender and lightly charred. Be careful bot too overcook them as the meat will become tough and rubbery — less in more!
To serve, spoon a portion of lentils into the middle of each plate and top with 2 calamari and tentacles. Garnish the dish with a handful of watercress, a drizzle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil and finish with three marinated tomatoes around the edge of each plate.