How to Clean and Cook a Squid

Squid meat contains a lot of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, and calcium. That’s why sometimes it is worth diversifying your diet with dishes from this seafood delicacy. Salads with squid traditionally decorate festive dining tables, while the smell and the taste of grilled squid remind us about warm summer evenings by the seaside.

5-Minute Crafts wants to tell you what you should know before buying, cleaning, and cooking a squid and is sharing techniques with you from professional chefs, thanks to which the meat will likely be both tasty and tender.

What it’s worth to know about before buying a squid

  • Before buying a squid, examine it: choose the one that has a tight white body with a nice salty smell. The smaller the squid is, the more tender its meat is.
  • Store fresh squid in the fridge for about 24 hours in a sealed plastic bag in a container filled with ice.
  • Most squid are sold peeled, so you just need to rinse them with water and then pat them dry with a paper tea towel before cooking.
  • If you are buying fresh squid, it’s better to cook it on the same day you buy it.

How to clean a squid

  • First of all, it’s advisable that you put on rubber gloves when working with squid.
  • Place the squid in front of you. Carefully pull it in different directions to separate the head from the body holding the squid’s body with one hand and its head with the other. In order to make it simpler and faster, make rotating movements. Be ready, the squid’s insides will fall out right after its head.
  • Take the head in your hands and remove the tentacles from it. To do this, cut them off so that the cut goes right under the eyes.
  • There is a piece of bone inside the part with the tentacles.
  • This bone should be carefully removed by picking it up with a knife. Afterward, put the tentacles aside but don’t throw them away.
  • Take the squid in your hands. You can feel the solid chitin plate along the body up to the fin. This should be removed. Take it from one side, hold it tightly, and slightly rotate it to remove the plate from the meat and then pull it to remove it from the body. Be careful because the plate can fall apart into several pieces and, if that happens, it will be more difficult to take it out.
  • Now you need to remove the thin skin from the body. Take the edge of the thin skin and pull it to remove it. If you want, you can also remove the fins by pulling them. However, the fins can be left if you are going to grill the whole squid.
  • Rinse the tentacles and fins with water. Wash the squid well, especially from the inside where there can be some parts of the viscera left.

Tip: If you are dealing with frozen squid, lightly pour boiling water over it after defrosting or quickly immerse it in boiling water and then place it in cold water. This method will help you remove the skin easier — you’ll just need to pick up its edge and pull it. The skin will slide off easily and quickly, just like a stocking.

How to cook a squid

  • Slightly beat the squid from both sides using a kitchen hammer to make the meat more tender. You can additionally soak it in lemon juice for 5 min.
  • Squid can become rubber-ish if you boil it too much. In order to get a tender squid, it’s necessary to cook it fast at a high temperature or slowly at a low temperature. At the same time, it doesn’t matter whether you are grilling, frying, or stewing it.

Salad with squid, tomatoes, eggs, and cheese

Ingredients:

  • 500 g (18 oz) of squid
  • 1 onion, medium size
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) of solid cheese
  • mayo
  • salt and pepper as per your taste
  • greenery
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 lemon

How to cook it:

  • Place squid in boiling salty water for 40 seconds. Then remove the pot from the fire and leave the squid in it for several minutes. It will make the meat tender and juicy.
  • Afterward, remove the squid from hot water, squeeze the juice from half a lemon over it, and let it cool down to room temperature.
  • During this time, make some hard-boiled eggs and finely chop the onion. Pour the chopped onion into the boiling water and leave it for 15 minutes to get rid of the bitterness.
  • Cut the squid in half along its body and clean it with a spoon from inside to make the meat smooth the way it is shown in the photo above. Afterward, cut it into strips.
  • Now it’s time for the tomatoes — if they are cherry tomatoes, cut each of them in half. Juicy and big tomatoes can be cut into cubes or into small pieces.
  • Place the onion in a colander to remove excess liquid.
  • Finely chop the eggs.
  • Mix all the ingredients in one bowl, add the hard cheese, coarsely grated. Now, all you have left to do is add mayo, salt, and pepper and put it all into the fridge. It will require several hours for the dish to get soaked properly.

Grilled squid tentacles

If you are preparing a salad using the whole squid, don’t rush to get rid of the other parts of the body. For example, if you open up the ink sac, you’ll be able to use the squid’s ink for cooking black risotto, pasta, or black burger buns. Fins and tentacles are better to be grilled.

Ingredients:

  • 800 g (28 oz) of squid tentacles (optionally, you can add the fins too)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves (shredded through a press)
  • 8 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper, as per your taste
  • 2 tsp of wine vinegar

How to cook:

Pour the olive oil into the bowl with the squid tentacles. Add other ingredients. Squeeze half of the lemon juice. Mix well, cover with a tight lid, and leave to marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes. Then remove the tentacles from the marinade and grill them for 3-4 minutes on each side.

Pour lemon juice from the second half of the lemon over the tentacles, lay some lettuce (or other greenery) on the bottom of the bowl, pour olive oil over it, add chopped tomatoes and serve. Bon appetite!

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