Grilled Whole Squid with Quinoa, Leek and Mozzarella Stuffing

For many years most fishers only thought of squid in terms of making great bait. In more recent years however, thanks mainly to the influence of many immigrant anglers, catching and cooking squid in NZ has turned into something of an art form.

Squid are targeted using jigs and light tackle either land or boat based around our rocky shoreline. Just check any of the accessible Auckland wharves and prominent points at night during ‘squid season’ and you will find anglers shoulder to shoulder targeting this delectable catch.

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•2 whole squid

•1 cup quinoa, rinsed

•2 cups of chicken broth/stock

•1 leek, thinly sliced

•1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

•1 lemon

•Olive oil

•2 cloves garlic, minced

•Cayenne pepper and smoked paprika 

•Salt and pepper to taste


1.    Cooking the quinoa 

In wok or deep pan (such as the COBB wok accessory), cook the quinoa using 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of chicken broth/stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Remove the quinoa from the wok and fluff with a fork.

2.    Preparing the filling 

In the wok, add some olive oil and mix in the minced garlic. Add the sliced leeks to the minced garlic and sauté until softened. Combine the cooked quinoa with the sautéed leeks and garlic. Whilst the mixture is warm, add two handfuls of shredded mozzarella cheese to bond it all.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and allow the stuffing mixture to cool. 

3.    Cleaning the catch 

Clean the squid by cutting at the base of the tentacles, just below the eye, to separate the body. Reach into the body and remove the insides and the pen. Scrape the external membrane off with a knife or peel by hand. Gently stuff each squid with the quinoa mixture, leaving some space at the top to attach the tentacles. Attach the tentacles at the open end of the squid body with toothpicks or skewers to keep the stuffing in place and to make it look as if the squid is still fully intact. 

4.    Marinating the squid 

In a small bowl, mix the cayenne pepper and smoked paprika with the olive oil. Brush the squid with the mixture evenly.

5.    Grilling the squid 

Place the stuffed squid on a grill (such as the COBB Grill Griddle+ cooking accessory) and cook for 3-5 minutes per side or until the squid is opaque and the stuffing is heated through. Squeeze generous amounts of lemon over the whole squid just before the grilling process is finished. Be careful not to overcook, as squid can become tough if grilled for too long.

6.    Serving  

Carefully remove the toothpicks from the squid before serving. Serve the grilled whole squid hot, accompanied by additional lemon wedges if desired.

Enjoy your delicious grilled whole squid stuffed with quinoa, leeks, and cheese! 

– Davie du Pavillon

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