Call me Mari Mari

Calamari two ways – Grilled and fried calamari with tri-color pearled couscous in a tomato shrimp head sauce.

This morning I woke up and had a taste for something a little special. I dug into my freezer and found the last bit of calamari and some frozen shrimp heads I had. The couscous calamari combination seemed obvious. I am going to keep this short and delectable.

Serving 2



1 whole calamari thawed

2 tbsp flour

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley

1 egg

Cayenne pepper

Oil for frying

Salt to taste

1 lemon wedge


1/2 cup pearled couscous

1 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt to taste

Tomato sauce:

10 cherry tomatoes

8 shrimp heads and tails

1 bay leaf

1 3/4 cup water

1/8 teaspoon paprika

Salt and red pepper flakes to taste


Bring water to a boil on high. Add couscous, olive oil and salt to the pot, stir and lower to a simmer for 8-10 minutes. Stirring occasionally. I let mine sit for a bit to get some slightly crispy bits at the bottom.

While the couscous is cooking, set up both the calamari and the shrimp sauce.

Shrimp sauce:

For the sauce add water, shrimp heads and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Set to low heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Blend until smooth. Add salt and red pepper to taste. Return the sauce back to the pot and cook on low-medium heat for 5 minutes.

Fried calamari:

Slice 1/2 of the calamari into 3/4” strips. Dip the calamari strips into the beaten egg, then coat in flour cornstarch mixture. Fry the calamari in oil for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Season with salt.

Grilled calamari:

Cut the remaining calamari into diagonal slits creating a diamond pattern on one side . Heat olive oil into a pan, add the calamari, season with salt. Flip the calamari and cook until it is opaque, about 2-3 minutes on each side.


Spoon a generous amount of the shrimp head sauce onto the center of the plate into a long oval shape. Spoon the couscous on one side of the sauce. Place the grilled calamari in the center of the sauce and the fried calamari on top of the couscous. Garnish with chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

I kept this as simple as I could. Even though I usually like to cook things multiple times before posting, this one was so yummy and simple I had to share. This recipe will likely evolve over time and I will post updated versions of it.

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