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Gilroy Garlic Festival calamari

Gilroy's classic Garlic Festival dish

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posted March 27, 2019

Gilroy Garlic Festival calamari

Visit Gilroy  |  Gilroy, California  |  NTA contact: Jane Howard

Though we don’t recommend attempting the Pyro Chef-style “flame-up” in your home kitchen (see photo), you can cook up the original Gilroy Garlic Festival recipe for calamari from Gourmet Alley Head Chef Steve Janisch.

If you prefer to leave the cooking to us, come join us for the 41st annual Gilroy Garlic Festival on July 26–28, 2019. Learn more at

3 pounds calamari, cleaned and cut
⅓ cup olive oil
¼ cup white sherry
1 tablespoon crushed fresh garlic
½ lemon
1 teaspoon dry basil or 1 tablespoon fresh basil
1 teaspoon dry oregano or 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
¼ teaspoon dry crushed red pepper

For the red sauce:
1 pound whole, peeled tomatoes, canned or fresh
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ green pepper, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

In a large skillet, heat olive oil at high heat. Add sherry and sauté crushed garlic. Squeeze the juice of ½ lemon into the skillet. Add the lemon rind; sprinkle herbs over and add calamari. Sauté calamari about 4 minutes on high heat. Do not overcook.

To make the red sauce: Mash tomatoes with potato masher and set aside. In medium-sized saucepan, heat oil, add chopped ingredients, and sauté until onion is transparent. Add mashed tomatoes and simmer 30 minutes. Pour red sauce over calamari and heat 1 minute.

Makes 10 servings.

Top photo by Visit Gilroy

The view all of the recipes from the 7 distinctive regional dishes feature, click here.