Calamari with Lemon, Castelvetrano Olives and Bread Crumbs

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This recipe was originally published as part of a menu in Tasting Table National. 

TT Test Kitchen Tip: Be sure to remove the calamari when it is just cooked and transparent. Overcooking makes the delicate squid rubbery.

TT Test Kitchen Tip: The Castelvetrano olives in the dish are worth seeking out. The vibrant green color and mild flavor pair perfectly with the sautéed calamari. Since they oxidize quickly, keep them submerged in their brine until you're ready to use them.

Calamari with Lemon, Castelvetrano Olives and Bread Crumbs

Yield: 4 servings

Cook Time: 30 minutes


Bread Crumbs

1 cup one-inch cubes of day-old rustic white bread, crust removed

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 small lemon, finely zested

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Salt and freshly ground black pepper



2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 small lemon, peel left on and cut into small wedges

Pinch red pepper flakes

¾ pound small squid--cleaned, bodies cut into ¼-inch rings and tentacles halved

2 tablespoons dry white wine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup Castelvetrano olives (green Sicilian olives), pitted and chopped


1. Make the bread crumbs: Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, toss the bread cubes with the 1 tablespoon olive oil, lemon zest and 1 tablespoon parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Place the cubes on a sheet tray and toast for 20 minutes until browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. When cool, place the bread cubes in a large plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin until large crumbs form. Set aside.

2. Make the calamari: In a large skillet set over low heat, heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil. Stir in the garlic, lemon wedges and red pepper flakes and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Add the squid and white wine and increase the heat to medium. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the calamari is no longer transparent. Stir in the olives.

3. Transfer to a platter and spoon the excess liquid over the dish. Sprinkle with reserved bread crumbs and serve immediately.

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