Summer Spiedini

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Spiedini (meaning “skewers” in Italian) are wonderful summertime food that I fondly remember eating at seaside restaurants in Senigallia and Sicily. There is something about these simply prepared skewers quickly cooked over an open grill that evokes summertime for me. Warm breezes, the smell of the sea and of a hot grill cooking food takes me to those casual days enjoying a summertime lunch.

Italian food recipes are rarely complicated. Spiedini are an effortless meal that comes together quickly for a crowd. About the only thing you need from your pantry is bamboo skewers. Having friends over? Make a pile of spiedini and cook them on the grill while your friends drink a cold crisp glass of wine.

Meat on a stick over an open flame has been used for cooking food since the dawn of mankind. French brochette, Southeast Asian satays, Japanese yakitori, middle-eastern kebab are all modern examples of this. Spiedini are the Italian entry in this long list. Uniquely Italian, the coating of breadcrumbs gives them an extra crunch and retains moisture and juices.

The recipe here is for three types of spiedini: squid, chicken breast and beef rolls. Let your imagination go freely and come up with your own personal combinations.

The summer is here 😎🌴! Get grilling and have fun with friends and family making while cooking some spiedini 🍡🍡🍡

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Summer Spiedini

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  • 1 lb top sirloin (see Note 1)  thinly sliced and lightly pounded with mallet
  • 810 medium squid or 1 large Asian squid, cleaned and tentacles reserved
  • 1 large boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (I like to use panko breadcrumbs for the extra crunch)
  • ¼½ cup grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese (or a combination)
  • 6 or so tbsp parsley, finely minced, divided into 3 portions
  • 1 lemon for juicing and more for garnish
  • Extra items for the skewers
    • Lemon wedges
    • Thickly sliced red onions
    • Heavy fresh herbal leaves such as bay, lemon, lime, kafkir lime
  • Salt and pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 or so 8-in. (or longer) bamboo skewers 


  • Prepare the breadcrumb mixture. Combine the breadcrumbs, cheese(s) and 2 tbsps minced parsley in a bowl. Add salt and pepper and taste the dry mixture. Add more cheese or salt/pepper as you like. You should taste the cheese but it shouldn’t be overpowering.
  • In a shallow cooking dish, soak the bamboo skewers in water for 30 minutes or more.
  • Prepare two small bowls for marinating. Add the squeezed juice from half of each lemon into each bowl. Add about the same about of olive oil , 3 tbsps minced parsley, salt and pepper to each bowl. Vigorously whisk each bowl until emulsified. 
  • Cut the chicken breast into 1-inch chunks and add to one bowl and toss. Add the cleaned squid to the other bowl and toss (if using large Asian squid, cut into 1-inch ribbons before adding). Let both bowls marinate in the fridge for 1 hour (not more than 2).
  • Meanwhile, make the beef rolls. Spread out the breadcrumb on each piece of thin meat. Roll the up and cut into 1-inch segments. 
  • Build the skewers. Each skewer should have about 4 pieces of chicken, 4 1-inch beef rolls and 1 squid body and some tentacles. See Note #2 for some flavoring ideas.
  • Set out 2 plates 1) with olive oil and 2) with the remaining breadcrumb mixture. Dredge all 4 sides of each skewer in oil and then in the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a sheet pan. 
  • Heat your grill to a medium heat. Clean the grill and rub the grates with oil by dipping a paper towel in oil and using a long pair of tongs.
  • Grill the spiedini rotating to cook all sides. Each type of skewer will take a different amount of cooking. Use this guideline:
    • Chicken – internal temperature – 165℉.
    • Beef – internal temperature – 135℉-145℉
    • Squid – 2 minutes or until the squid turns opaque — any longer and they will be chewy
  • Serve with lots of lemon wedges.


Note #1 – Quick grilled beef spiedini need a lean cut of meat. I used top sirloin for the rolls. “Braciole” meat can be several different cuts of meat so ask your butcher. “Braciole” stewed in tomato sauce is typically a fatty cut of meat.

Note #2 – Be creative with the flavor additions you make to the spiedini. I found bright lemon slices go with squid, herbal bay laurel or other sturdy leaves go with otherwise boring chicken breast and earthy red onions go with beef.

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