Stuffed Calamari with lemon butter sauce

4 Min Read

My all time favorite starter from a restaurant is calamari tubes stuffed with halloumi cheese and drenched in greek lemon butter sauce. The restaurant is Margeritas in Bloemfontein (my home town city) and it is so amazing! Yes, I was a waitress there for over 3 years but I promise with no bias, it is really excellent.

After working there all those years, that special recipe was never shared with me, but when the craving hit recently, I had to experiment and attempt to replicate the starter. It did not turn out exactly the same (as theirs is on another level of great) but mine was a really good starter nonetheless, so sharing it anyway. So the below recipe makes enough starters for 4 people or a main meal for two to three if served with french fries.

What you need?

  • 350g calamari tubes, thawed and cleaned
  • 200g halloumi cheese, sliced lengthways
  • Olive oil, for cooking the tubes
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 250 ml fresh cream
  • 2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, chopped plus extra for plating

What to do?

  • Prepare the calamari tubes by stuffing the sliced halloumi into into the calamari tubes.
  • Start the sauce to get it simmering by adding 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan on medium heat.
  • Add the herbs. See the first picture.
  • Once the butter is melted, add the cream and turn down to a simmer. See the second picture
  • Add the juice of half a lemon to a full lemon (depending on preference and how juicy your lemon is) and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and simmer until thick. It is ready when it is a thicker consistency. See last picture.
  • On a griddle pan, heat a splash of olive oil on medium to high heat. Add the prepared stuffed calamari to the hot griddle and cook. Turn over to the other side and cook .
  • The heat needs to be on medium to high, as if the heat is too low, the cheese will start melting before the calamari is cooked which equals big mess. The cheese does pop out sometimes but that’s why you generally want bigger calamari tubes than these pitcured below (but in my case, the craving hit and this was the biggest size I could find so went with it – hehe).
  • Serve up on a small plate or rectangle plate in a row of 6- 8 stuffed calamari. Pour the lemon butter sauce over.
  • Slice the remaining lemons in wedges and place alongside, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley and serve.
  • If you prefer to serve this as mains instead of a starter, throw some frozen skinny french fries in the air fryer until crispy and serve. For the calamari tubes that are torn and not good enough for stuffing, you can grill these in butter and lemon and serve alongside. The calamari heads can be dusted with flour and cook in the air fryer for 5 to 10 minutes for crispy bite along with your main dish (see back plate in front left).
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