Greek Style Calamari and Tomato Stew with Peppers

Source: Sandra Keros, HHC, AADP.

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

Prepared for CUESA’s Market to Table program on September 11, 2010.

This lovely light stew is easy to make and wonderful for those cool San Francisco fall evenings when fresh tomatoes are still abundant at farmers’ market stalls. The chilaca chile really pumps up the flavor of this traditional Greek combination of olive oil, lemon and herbs without adding much, if any, detectable heat. For more heat, just add two pinches of crushed chili flakes or some drops of your favorite hot sauce.

Serves 6 as an appetizer, 4 as a main course


1½ pounds whole (or 1 pound cleaned) calamari
1½ pounds tomatoes
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
½ cup leek, minced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 8-inch chilaca pepper, minced
2 teaspoons fine sea salt, or more to taste
½ jar tomato paste (100 grams or 3.5 ounces)
1 cup white wine
Juice from 2 large lemons (about ¼ cup)
2 tablespoons oregano, minced
2 tablespoons dill, minced
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or more to taste
Kale chips, for garnish (see recipe below)


  1. Prepare squid: Clean and slice calamari into ½-inch rings; save tentacles.

  2. Prepare tomatoes: Fill a medium-size pot halfway full of water, cover, and bring to a boil.
  3. Remove each tomato core with a paring knife and pierce the skin on bottom with an “X”.  Lower the tomatoes into boiling water and let cook one minute. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with half ice and half water. Place tomatoes immediately in ice bath when done. Peel the tomatoes; the skins should slide off easily. Puree tomatoes for a several seconds in a bowl with a handheld blender.
  4. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté leeks, garlic, chilaca pepper and a couple pinches of sea salt for 3 minutes. Add pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, white wine, lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon oregano, 1 tablespoon dill, salt and pepper to taste; stir to completely combine. Bring to a rolling simmer then turn down to lowest possible simmer. Once bubbles have disappeared, add calamari and let sit, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or when calamari is cooked through and tender.
  5. Before serving, add the rest of the herbs; taste and season with additional salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil or lemon, as desired.  Serve stew on its own; or it is delicious served over rice, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables or squash.


Photo by Barry Jan.


Farmers Market Ingredients