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A seafood lovers' classic dish, stuffed calamari relies more on fresh produce and less on culinary skill to get the best outcome. Angela Nicolettou demystifies one of the most delectable dishes in Greek cuisine.
Calamari Yemisto – Stuffed Calamari
8 small to medium sized fresh whole calamari
¾ cup long grain rice
1 onion, finely diced
1 cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped dill
¼ cup currants
2 pinches of saffron threads, soaked in 1 tbs hot water
1 cup white wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Heat oven to 180C
To clean calamari, begin by holding the head firmly and pulling off the tentacles. Remove all remaining intestines including the long transparent cartilage. Cut the tentacles at the base of the eyes and set aside, making sure to remove the tooth like beak. Discard the intestines.
Pull off the fins and any remaining skin. Rinse out the cavity of the body and set aside. Remove any skin from the fins. Cut the tentacles and the fins in small pieces and set aside.
In a fry pan add 1tbs olive oil and cook the onions until soft and add the chopped tentacles and fins. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the rice, herbs (reserving some parsley for garnish), currants, half the saffron and cook for a few minutes. Season to taste and remove from heat and set aside.
To stuff the calamari, gently (not too tightly packed as the rice will expand) fill each one ¾ full with the rice mixture and secure the end with a toothpick. In a fry pan add 2 tbs olive oil and fry the calamari until just golden. Add the wine, remaining saffron and half a cup of water. Cover and place in the oven until rice is cooked (about 20 minutes). Remove calamari from pan and rest (covered with foil) for at least 10 minutes before serving. Heat the remaining liquid to reduce and thicken slightly. To serve, slice calamari on the diagonal and drizzle with the reduced sauce and some chopped parsley.
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