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Perfect Pairing: Artichoke & caper stuffed calamari

Inspired by the Greek tradition of stuffing squid, this novel recipe provides the perfect excuse for exploring the white wines of Greece.

Born in Athens, Carolina Doriti has worked as a chef, recipe developer, restaurant consultant and food journalist, and is the culinary producer of the USA TV series My Greek Table, presented by Diane Kochilas. Carolina is also the Athens bureau chief for Culinary Backstreets, a company that runs gastronomy tours around the world.

I have lived most of my life in Athens, a city that blends and balances the ancient with the modern. This blend is how I experience this age-old culture’s cuisine. Its roots are ancient, its core has been preserved, yet over the years it has harmoniously developed and been touched by the course of history, from West and East. Over the last 20 years or
so, there has been a big turn towards traditional regional cooking and local artisanal products. The simplicity of traditional cuisine has been re-evaluated and appreciated further for its health benefits and respect for the ingredients that define it. Greek chefs are making their mark on the global culinary scene, winning awards for their creativity, and from high-end restaurants to simple tavernas, Greek cuisine is thriving.

This book is my offering to the history and heritage of Greek cuisine and culture, and I hope that it will help people to learn, share and enjoy the wonderment of what passionate home cooks and chefs in Greece have been privy to and revelling in for generations.

Artichoke & caper stuffed calamari

This is not a common or traditional recipe from any part of Greece; it is my own invention. I was inspired by the ways calamari is stuffed in Greece, often involving rice or just tomatoes and feta. The artichokes pair really well here with the herbs, as does the calamari with the tangy, citrussy sauce. When I have friends over and I wish to turn this dish into something more shareable, I slice them like sushi rolls; they are easier to eat that way, and also look beautiful. This is great with a good retsina.

Serves 4-6


  • 6 large calamari, each about 400g
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 100ml warm vegetable stock or water

For the filling

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 5 spring onions (scallions), chopped
  • 300g artichoke hearts, fresh or frozen, cut into small chunks
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice
  • 150ml warm vegetable stock or water 50g cracked wheat
  • 3 tbsp chopped dill
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 2 tbsp capers (rinsed if salt-packed), roughly chopped
  • finely grated zest of 1 small lemon
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the lemon & dill sauce

  • 40ml lemon juice
  • 125ml olive oil
  • 1 tbsp chopped dill


  1. Wash and clean the calamari. Set aside in a colander to drain.
  2. For the filling, place a large pan over a medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onion for 6-7 minutes until soft and glossy. Add spring onions and artichokes, stir for a couple of minutes until the artichokes soften. Pour in the wine, wait for a minute or so, then add the lemon juice and stock or water and turn the heat down to medium- low. Mix in the cracked wheat, season with salt and pepper, and gently simmer for about 10 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the artichokes are fork-tender. Remove from the heat and mix in the herbs, capers and lemon zest.
  3. Using a teaspoon, stuff the calamari with the artichoke filling, pushing the filling down into the tubes with the back of the spoon. Seal the tentacle end using two toothpicks for each calamari, attaching the tentacles to the sticks, too – make sure you haven’t over-stuffed so that they don’t seal with the toothpicks. Pierce the body here and there with a toothpick to prevent it from bursting while cooking.
  4. Place a wide pot with a tight-fitting lid over a medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Once hot, place the stuffed calamari in the pot. They will sizzle. Let them cook for a couple of minutes on each side, flipping them over. Season with salt and pepper, then pour in the wine, followed by the warm stock or water, and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Season with a little black pepper and cover with the lid. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed and the calamari are fork-tender.
  5. Meanwhile, make the dressing. Add the lemon juice to a bowl. Slowly pour in the olive oil while whisking quickly. It should look rather yellowish and thickened. Mix in the dill along with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve the calamari either whole or sliced, drizzled with the sauce.

Salt of the Earth: Secrets and Stories from a Greek Kitchen by Carolina Doriti was published by Quadrille in March 2023 (£27 hardback)

Book cover of Salt of the Earth, Secrets and Stories from a Greek Kitchen by Carolina Doriti

The wines to drink with artichoke & caper stuffed calamari

By Fiona Beckett

The artichoke in the recipe may be the element that flashes warning lights to any wine lover (it tends to make any accompanying wine taste sweet), but in fact, it’s the lemon zest and herbs that are likely to be the more dominant notes. Given the fashionability of Greek wines, it would be perverse not to start on home turf, and please don’t be put off by Carolina’s suggestion of retsina – there are some highly drinkable ones around these days. Otherwise the obvious option is Assyrtiko, although you could go for one of the more modest Greek white blends that are starting to appear in the UK. Other dry whites would work well, too. Albariño and the slightly better value Alvarinho from neighbouring Portugal spring to mind. A Txakoli would be interesting, as would some of the surprisingly fresh, crisp whites you find in southern Italy, such as Greco di Tufo or Carricante (the grape used to make most Etna whites). Not Sauvignon, though, I suggest.

Wines selected by our Decanter experts

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