Recipe for Calamaria Gemista (Stuffed Squid)


3 lb large fresh squid
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup coarsely chopped onion (packed)
1/3 cup long-grain rice
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 large garlic cloves; chopped
1/4 cup currants
3/4 cup dry white or red wine
1 salt & freshly ground pepper to tas; te
3/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (packed)
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill, packed
4 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 cup peeled, seeded tomatoes (chopped)


Wash and clean squid. Grasp the head just below the eyes, pull it off from the rest of the body, and set it aside. Cut away the thin purplish membrane on the outside of the tail section. Using your index finger, scoop out and discard the guts and thin cartilage "icicle" on the inside of the tail section. Rinse tail sections inside and out and set aside in a colander to drain. Take the head section in one hand and put pressure with your thumb and forefinger around the mouth and eyes, to squeeze them out. Discard mouth and eyes.

Chop the squid tentacles and have them ready, as they will be used in the stuffing.

In a large skillet, heat half the oilve oil and saute onion until wilted. Add rice, tentacles, and pine nuts and saute over medium-low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and currants to rice and stir quickly with a woodent spoon. Pour in 1/4 cup wine and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until liquid is almost completely absorbed and rice is soft but only about half cooked, about 15 minutes. About 5 minutes before removing skillet from heat, add parsley, dill and mint. Remove and let cool enough to handle.

Using a small teaspoon or a butter knife, carefully fill about three quarters of each squid with the rice mixture. Use toothpicks to secure closed. Pour remaining olive oil into a large stewing pot. Place squid carefully in pot. Pour in remaining wine and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered for about 1-1/2 hours, or until rice is cooked and squid fork-tender. Twenty minutes before removing squid from heat, add chopped tomatoes to pot and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Check throughout cooking to see if more water is necessary so that mixture doesn't dry out. Serve squid hot or cold with a simple green salad.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This dish needs a delicate wine such as a Robola Callinga or Santorini Boutari. Serve with wild greens (horta), 'horiatiki salata (village salad), and a beautiful olive bread.

Yield: 4 servings

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