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Grilled Calamari with Cumin

We were planning on being in southern Spain this past week for a writing contest Mark won, but long story short, a few things came up and we had to stay in Penang. I thought if Mark has been pretending the last few weeks that he is enjoying autumn on a tropical island, then I can pretend I'm in Spain and cook up some Mediterranean flavors.

I slathered calamari (squid) with cumin, chopped garlic, onion powder, smoked serrano chili powder, and a drizzle of olive oil. Slid the pan on the top rack of the oven, turned on the broiler, watched the edges of the squid rings curl, and smelled the wonderful aroma of the nutty cumin and the bite of garlic. When the rings slightly charred, with a perfect crisp and tenderness, I quickly removed the pan. Knowing they were too hot to eat didn't stop me from popping one into my mouth. The flavor was worth burning my tongue.

For an exciting accompaniment to the grilled calamari, I made a tropical salsa with sweet mango and fresh coconut. Then topped the salsa on tomato rice, squeezed some lemon juice on the calamari, closed my eyes, dreamed of Spain, and enjoyed a tropical-Mediterranean fusion dinner.

Grilled Calamari with Cumin by Season with Spice

What you’ll need:
10 medium size squid, cleaned and sliced into rings
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp of Season with Spice's ground cumin
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp of Season with Spice's Smoked Serrano Chili Powder or cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp olive oil
Sweet Ginger Sea Salt, to taste
Freshly ground Season with Spice's Tellicherry Peppercorns
Fresh cilantro or basil or parsley
Lemon wedge

1. Wash each squid thoroughly and pat them dry with paper towels. Cut squid body into rings, approximately 2cm wide.
2. In a bowl, mix olive oil, garlic, cumin, onion powder, smoked serrano chili powder, lemon zest, sweet ginger sea salt and freshly ground Tellicherry pepper.
3. Add squid rings (and tentacles) to bowl; tossing well to coat with the spice seasoning. Cover and let marinate for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
4. Place squid on grill rack and broil in oven for 2-3 minutes on each side. The edges should curl up and char.
5. Squeeze lemon over squid and garnish with fresh herbs. Serve with a light salsa or any green salad.

1. What's the difference between squid and calamari?  They're the same. Calamari is just the culinary term used for cooked squid.
2. Most people prefer to remove the purplish skin on the squid for a cleaner look, but the skin is edible, and I usually leave it on for grilling.
3. The grilled calamari should be lightly browned, firm and chewy, not rubbery. Be sure to keep a close eye on it to avoid overcooking.
4. Don’t have an oven or grill? You can also pan fry the calamari with the same seasoning.