An inspiration from an unforgettable meal that I had three years ago 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 sundried tomatoes. The meaty and giant calamari were cooked into perfection, the flavours of halloumi and sundried tomatoes blended so well with the olive oil and all melted in the mouth.

Mediterranean inspired stuffed calamari

It’s a recipe full of delicious flavors of Mediterranean cuisine, revisited by the Atlantic Ocean. Revisiting this meal outside of the Mediterranean region can be a challenge since the ingredients, especially giant calamari tubes, are hard to find. If you cannot find them, you can use baby calamari.


  • 1 kg frozen baby calamari
  • 1 cup of dried tomatoes preserved in olive oil
  • 250 gr of halloumi cheese
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper


 1. Defreeze and clean the baby calamari: This is the part that takes more time. If you can find 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 each.

 3. Sew the calamari. This will avoid the filling going out. You can make it with a real thread and needle, which works the best. The other option is to use a toothpick 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: Rosé Champagne

My selection was the Bollinger Rosé Champagne. The flavours in the dish, both halloumi and sundried tomatoes have a strong flavor and tend to mask the palate. However, the body and creaminess of this rosé champagne were able to stand against it. Overall, it was an enjoyable pairing worth trying.



All images © 2020 by Wines of Nesli. All rights reserved.

Categories: Wine & Food, WinesTags: , ,

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