Living in landlocked Utah, I don’t get my seafood fix as often as I would like to. But when I do, I like the dishes that can be enjoyed year round and are easy to create, like this calamari stew. In the summer, calamari stew is superb served plain with a glass of ouzo. In the winter it’s equally superb served over a bed of rice. I serve it in the spring and fall, too. It’s a winner no matter when it’s served it, as my dad and I recently did at Salt Lake City’s annual Taste of Greece fundraiser. We literally cooked a vat of calamari stew, nearly 20 pounds of calamari alone. No matter the batch size, this dish is made the same, cooked slowly in a rich tomato sauce and given the final touch of olives and capers.

If you’ve ever prepared calamari you know the simple rule for tenderness—cook it fast (such as on a grill) or cook it slow (as in a stew like this one). Never in between unless you have would rather spend your night chewing. You won’t be chewing calamari if prepared in this style.


Calamari Stew
Recipe type: Main Dish
Delicious calamari stew, made in a rich tomato sauce.
  • 2 pounds squid (frozen is more readily available)
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 fennel bulb, whites only, sliced. Save the fronds.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup ouzo
  • ¼ cup capers
  • 1 cup green olives
  • Fennel fronds, chopped (or dill) to taste
  1. If not using precut rings, thaw your squid and slice into rings. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and fennel until translucent. Add the garlic. Season well with salt and pepper.
  3. Add crushed tomatoes and wine. Reduce the heat and let simmer until the sauce begins to thicken.
  4. Add the squid and simmer for about 20 minutes. Pour in the ouzo and simmer for 25 to 40 minutes.
  5. Add the capers, olives and fennel fronds. Stir well and remove from heat.
  6. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.


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