Grilled Calamari with Salsa Tatemada

On a recent teaching trip to Mexico, while in Cabo San Lucas, we had a quick lunch at the beautiful Las Ventanas hotel. The octopus dish they served came in a black habanero sauce that surprisingly was neither too hot nor bitter. This regional charred salsa can vary greatly from household to household and incorporates different hot peppers, tomatoes or tomatillos. Here is my version, using locally landed squid and fresh summer tomatoes. It’s quite spicy because of the heat from the habaneros but feel free to dial it down by using your favorite hot pepper. I included diced cucumber in the recipe to cool things off. I hope you enjoy.

By | June 06, 2017


On a hot grill or in a cast-iron skillet over high heat, char the tomatoes skin side down, along with the peppers, red onion and garlic. (If using the skillet, make sure they don’t crowd.) Remove the vegetables when their skins are charred and soft enough to be blended.

Remove the skin from the garlic. Using rubber gloves (and careful not to touch your eyes), remove the habanero stems and seeds. Place the vegetables, ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup cilantro, juice from ½ lime and a pinch of salt in a blender and blend until smooth. Sauce should be thick. Reserve at room temperature.

In a bowl, mix the cucumber with the remaining cilantro, ¼ cup olive oil and juice from ½ lime. Salt to taste.

In a bowl, toss the squid “tubes” with the remaining oil and season with salt.

Heat your grill on medium-high or until coals are glowing and hot. Grill the calamari for approximately 45 seconds on each side. They should have blond grill marks and be just cooked. Toss with the cucumber mixture. Add juice from the remaining ½ lime and season with salt.

Spread the Salsa Tatemada on a platter and spoon the calamari and cucumber on top and garnish with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, cilantro leaves and lime wedges.

About this recipe

WINE PAIRING: Judeka Frappato—Sicily, Italy. Grilled squid with tomatoes and Frappato are a perfect match. This is why we love what we do—this is a food and wine pairing extraordinaire. (And everyone should drink Frappato.) With floral and berry notes, it has soft tannins and balanced acid. Aged in stainless steel and then in the bottle for two months, it has a fresh, vibrant character. Enjoy with Chef Matthew’s fantastic recipe. —Jessica Norris Granatiero, The Savory Grape & The Savory Affair, East Greenwich


  • 2 ripe, medium Beefsteak tomatoes, cored and cut in half
  • 2 habanero peppers (or your favorite hot pepper)
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into ½-inch rounds
  • 3 garlic cloves with skin on
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, washed, dried and coarsely chopped, plus whole leaves for garnish
  • Freshly squeezed juice from 1½ limes, plus lime wedges for serving
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 (6-inch) cucumber cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 pound (approximately 2 ounces each) squid “tubes” or bodies
Build your own subscription bundle.
Pick 3 regions for $60