Recipes Main Courses Seafood Grilled Calamari with Red Onion and Basil

Grilled Calamari with Red Onion and Basil

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 4

Chef Barton Seaver adores the pairing of basil and grilled squid. This combination is the foundation for a dish that he served in each of his restaurants, and it was always a top seller. This makes a great dish for entertaining, as the preparation is easy and the results are stunning.


  • 1 lb. cleaned calamari (ask your fishmonger a few days ahead
      for squid with the skin still on, known as dirty squid)
  • 1 garlic clove, grated over a Microplane or very finely minced
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced vertically
  • Leaves from 4 fresh basil sprigs, torn


Mix together the squid, garlic, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp. of the olive oil. Toss to combine and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight in the refrigerator.

Just before grilling, mix the onion slices with 1 Tbs. of the olive oil and the torn basil. Season with salt and gently toss to combine.

Prepare a medium fire in a charcoal grill, flavored with your choice of fruitwood.

Place the squid on the grill directly over the heat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes and then flip. Cook until the squid is lightly caramelized and cooked through, about 3 minutes more. Be careful not to overcook.

Place the squid on serving plates and garnish with the onion mixture. Drizzle each plate with the remaining olive oil and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Where There’s Smoke, by Barton Seaver (Sterling Epicure, 2013).