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Finished seafood recipe with Roasted Garlic, Chilis and Feta garnished with arugula and grilled sourdough

Sautéed Calamari with Roasted Garlic, Chilis and Feta

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1 pound calamari, rings and tentacles

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 head of garlic (12-14 cloves)

1 1/2 cups red onions, sliced (1 large onion or 2 small)

3/4 cup feta cheese, cut into squares

2 cups arugula, cleaned and chopped

1-2 red chilis, sliced

1 fresh lemon

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Grilled sourdough, for serving


  1. Begin by heating 1/2 cup olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add roughly chopped garlic cloves and a pinch of salt to the oil. Turn heat down to medium low and monitor, stirring occasionally to ensure the garlic roasts and softens, but does not brown. Depending on the heat, this process will take 8-10 minutes. Once completed, remove from heat and add sliced red peppers and 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika. Stir to combine. The spice will bloom in the residual heat of the oil.
  2. While the garlic is cooking, prep the rest of your ingredients - rinse your calamari rings and tentacles, and dry them well with a paper towel. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. Slice 2 small red onions, cut a 6 ounce block of feta cheese into squares, slice a lemon in half and prepare your sourdough for grilling. Finally, roughly chop 2 cups of arugula. We will be using the peppery arugula as a fresh herb in the dish, so we want it just a little smaller without being too fussy.
  3. Heat a cast iron skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat. Add lemon halves, cut side down, to one side of the pan. To the other, add slices of sourdough. Grill until all are golden brown. Remove lemons and set aside. Wrap grilled bread in a kitchen towel to keep warm.
  4. Add 3 tablespoons of the garlic flavored olive oil (but none of the garlic pieces) to a large skillet, then add all of the sliced onions to the hot oil. Sauté until cooked through and charring around the edges, about 6-8 minutes. Add additional garlic oil if the pan gets too dry. 
  5. While the onions are cooking, add the 2 cups of chopped fresh arugula to a large bowl. When the onions are finished, toss them into the bowl with the arugula, allowing the greens to wilt. 
  6. Return the pan to the burner, and raise the heat to high. Add a few tablespoons of garlic oil and the seasoned calamari to the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, browning the calamari quickly over the high heat, and tossing to ensure it is warmed through. Move the cooked calamari to the bowl of onions and arugula. 
  7. Squeeze two grilled lemon halves over the bowl and add the remaining roasted garlic pieces, chilis and olive oil to the bowl. Toss well to coat in the lemon juice and garlic oil mixture. Add the feta cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning - I often add a pinch of additional salt before serving. 

  8. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with additional lemon wedges and grilled sourdough. 


For a completely mild dish, omit the red chilis or add just a pinch of dried red pepper flakes.

Use either fresh calamari, or frozen and thawed in this recipe.

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Appetizer, Dinner, Salad
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American, Mediterranean