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NEW YEAR’S EVE TABLE: MEDITERRANEAN INSPIRED STUFFED CALAMARI PAIRED WITH CHAMPAGNE

The decision on what to do on New Year’s Eve is never easy, and the pressure of the magical numbers of 2 and 0 coming together twice made it even more difficult. To celebrate beginning of 2020, I designed a special Champagne dinner.

Mediterranean inspired stuffed calamari

For main dish of New Year’s Eve table, I found my inspiration from a lovely meal that I had 3 years ago with my mom in Northern Cyprus. We were in a restaurant by the old harbour, with a view of Kyrenia Castle. Being by the water, we ordered different seafood dishes and fish. Our favourite plate was the charcoal grilled calamari filled with halloumi and sun dried tomatoes. The meaty and giant calamari were cooked into perfection, the flavours of halloumi and sun dried tomatoes blended so well with the olive oil and all melted in the mouth.

Revisiting this meal outside of Mediterranean region is a challenge since the ingredients, especially seafood is hard to find. So, I’ve changed the things up a little bit and used baby calamari instead of big calamari tubes. Moreover, instead of charcoal grill, I oven baked it. The result is completely different than what we ate back there, it had a different air, but it was still super delicious.

Mediterranean inspired stuffed calamari

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: difficult
  • Print

It is a recipe full of delicious flavors of Mediterranean cuisine, revisited by the Atlantic Ocean.

Ingredients

  – 1 kg frozen baby calamari

  – 1 cup of dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil

  – 250 gr of halloumi cheese

  – Olive oil

  – Salt & pepper

Directions

  1. Defreeze and clean the baby calamari: This is the time that takes more time. If you can find ready cleaned calamari you can save almost an hour of work.

  2. Cut the halloumi and dried tomatoes in small pieces and fill the calamari with equal amounts of both.

  3. Sew the calamari. Yes, sew them to avoid that the filling goes out. You can make it with a real thread and needle, which works the best. The other option is to use a tootpick to bind two sides of the calamari.  

  4. Place the stuffed calamari in an olive oil brushed oven dish. Season it with more olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake it at 360 oF for around 45 minutes.

Wine Pairing

My selection was the Bollinger Rosé Champagne. Although the flavours in the dish, noth halloumi and sun dried tomatoes have a strong flavor and tend to mask the palate, the body and creaminess of this rose champagne were able to stand against it. Overall, it was an interesting pairing worth trying.

Cheers!

Nesli

All images © 2020 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.

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