This simple seafood dish will seriously impress!

Calamari recipe

“The scent of grilled calamari is one of my all-time favourite aromas, I love it even more when the hot squid hits this spicy herb and garlic paste,” says celebrity chef Karen Martini of this recipe from her new cookbook Home (Plum; $39.99). “Make sure the squid and prawns are thoroughly coated in the dressing and pour every last drop over the salad.”

Grilled calamari and prawns with tomato, chilli, parsley, mint and moghrabeih

Serves 6

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes
  • 1 small red chilli, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • Salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked, reserve a handful of whole leaves and chop the rest
  • ½ bunch of mint, leaves picked, reserve a handful of whole leaves and chop the rest
  • 1½ cups moghrabieh (pearl couscous), simmered for 20 minutes and drained finely
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 250 g cherry tomatoes, sliced in rounds
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 200g prawn cutlets, butterflied
  • 2–3 medium calamari, cleaned, wings attached and tentacles kept (350 g cleaned weight)
  • 2 lemons, to serve


  1. Using a mortar and pestle, grind the garlic, dried chilli, fresh chilli, peppercorns and a pinch of salt to a rough paste.
  2. Add a little oil and the chopped herbs and grind to a paste. Add more oil to loosen, and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the drained moghrabieh with the lemon juice and zest, season and pile onto a serving platter.
  4. Mix the tomatoes with the remaining parsley leaves, onion and a splash of oil, season and pile on top of the moghrabieh.
  5. Preheat the barbecue until very hot.
  6. Lightly oil and season the prawns and calamari and grill until just cooked. The calamari will take about 2–3 minutes on each side and the prawns, depending on size, should only take 1 minute on each side.
  7. Slice the calamari into 5-mm rings and add to a large bowl with the prawns. Add the herb paste and a squeeze of lemon and mix well. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  8. Pile the seafood on top of the tomatoes along with all of the juices, scatter over the remaining mint leaves and serve with lemon wedges on the side.

Visit Karen’s website or connect with her on Instagram @karen_martini