Squid, with its tender and delicate flavour, is a popular seafood choice among foodies and chefs the world over. Whether you’re a fan of calamari or want to try something new, squid is a versatile ingredient that can be prepared and cooked in various ways. However, getting it right can be a little tricky, especially if you’re a beginner. But fear not, we say!
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about buying, preparing and cooking squid like a pro. As an initial piece of advice, make sure to get your squid from a fresh seafood delivery service.
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When it comes to buying squid, it’s essential to choose fresh, high-quality varieties. Go for those that have bright, clear eyes as well as firm, unbroken bodies. The skin should be shiny and slightly sticky to the touch and the flesh should be odourless. If possible, buy whole squid and clean it yourself for the best taste and texture.
To the uninitiated, cleaning squid can be a bit intimidating, mainly because of its unusual appearance. But, it’s actually a relatively easy process once you get the hang of it. Here’s how to do it:
- Step 1: Remove the head by grabbing it firmly and pulling it away from the body. Discard the head or reserve it if you want to make stock.
- Step 2: Remove the squids’ innards by reaching inside the body and pulling them out. Cut off the tentacles just below the eyes and set them aside.
- Step 3: Peel the skin off the body and discard it. Then under cold, running water, rinse the body and tentacles. Pat everything dry with paper towels.
- Step 4: If you’re using the body, score it by making shallow cuts in a criss-cross pattern. This will help the squid cook evenly and prevent it from curling up as it gets cooked.
Best Squid Recipes
Now that you know how to prepare squid, let’s dive into some sumptuous squid recipes that will leave your taste buds dancing in delight.
Always the crowd-pleaser, fried calamari is so easy to make. First, slice the cleaned squid into rings, coat them in seasoned flour or breadcrumbs and fry them until golden brown. Serve with lemon wedges and your favourite dipping sauce.
Add grilled squid to your summer menu. While it’s great for summer barbecues, it’s also perfect for a romantic dinner. Marinate the cleaned squid in a mixture of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and your choice herbs, then grill it over high heat for a few minutes on each side. You can grill vegetables alongside the squid, so you can serve them together.
Squid Ink Pasta
Squid ink pasta is a unique and visually stunning dish that’s surprisingly easy to make at home. Cook your favourite pasta according to the directions on the package. Then, toss it with a sauce made from squid ink, olive oil, garlic and chilli flakes. Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley.
Now, this one’s a real hearty and flavourful dish for any occasion. Stuff the cleaned squid with a mixture of breadcrumbs, garlic, herbs and chopped tentacles, then bake it in a tomato sauce until tender. Stuffed squid is best served with crusty bread and a green salad.
Squid and Chorizo Stew
Want a comforting and satisfying dish for those cold winter nights? Squid and chorizo stew is perfect. To start, sauté sliced chorizo in a large pot until crispy, then add chopped onions, garlic and diced tomatoes. Add the cleaned squid, chicken broth and potatoes, and simmer until everything is tender and flavourful.
With a little practice and patience, you can create delicious squid dishes that will impress your friends and family. Remember to buy fresh, high-quality squid and then clean and prepare them the right way before you get any cooking done!