At a time when everyone seems concerned with seafood sustainability, squid can provide an easy and delectable alternative. It can be quickly cooked over high heat or slowly simmered to perfection for maximum flavour and nutrition.
If you’re cooking squid, start by removing its head, innards and ink sac. Next, separate its fins from its cuttlebone (a long piece of plastic-like cartilage), using two fingers to reach into its body or tail tube and pull them off one by one.
Table of Contents
1. Remove the head and innards
Cleaning a squid can seem intimidating at first, but it’s actually very straightforward and straightforward if done right. Here’s how it should go:
Use both hands to hold onto the squid head and body tube before gently tugging them apart. A fresh squid should come apart easily and most of its innards should fall out, along with its hard inedible beak – remove this by pulling it off before discarding along with its gooey ink sac.
Carefully slice across the eyes with your knife to disjoint its tentacles from their head with just a few slices, dislodging them gently but firm tugs. Prior to detaching tentacles from body, trim off fins that look like wings on its body – this will allow easier grasping when cooking it!
Once separated from their bodies, tentacles can be prepared in various ways: grilling, sauteeing, soups or pasta dishes are just some options available to you. To achieve best results when using squid as food, cook as soon as possible as it deteriorates quickly if left to sit too long without being eaten quickly enough.
Squid innards are highly edible and delicious! To get the most from them, remove its inky sac by pinching around its edge without breaking it and pulling it off; squeeze out any ink extracted and reserve for recipes calling for squid ink.
Cuttlebone (the long, plastic-like cartilage of squid) can also be used to flavor sauces and broths, while its outer purplish-pink membrane should also be removed as this can become chewy when overcooked and can make for an unappetising bite! Although not necessary, stripping away this membrane makes the squid more appetising; you don’t have to do this step, but doing it makes your appearance much better and can even enhance its look – raw eating may only be recommended with very young squid; best results should come within two days or freeze storage options should allow longer storage options!
2. Remove the fins
Squid is a delicious seafood choice, often used in dishes such as calamari or adobong pusit (squid in garlic sauce). Additionally, ceviches and other appetizers frequently incorporate this tasty protein source. Unfortunately, cleaning squid can be challenging; many prefer purchasing pre-cleaned squid from supermarkets instead of learning how to do it themselves; but if you plan on creating many squid recipes at home it might be worth your while learning how to properly clean this fish yourself!
At first, remove the head and innards of the squid by gripping both its tail section and head section tightly with one hand while pulling apart with another with a slight twisting motion. You should see its tail, tentacles, innards, ink sack, ink sac or other body parts easily separate from one another for disposal if not needed for other recipes; alternatively you could save its ink sac if a recipe calls for its use; this sack should be found inside its inner section where its skin should appear silvery; gently lift off its attachment before depositing it in a strainer until needed for use elsewhere in a recipe or saving it for another recipe using it as part of its anatomy if necessary for another recipe iteration step before discarding any unwanted pieces!
Remove the fins from the body tube using either cutting around their edges with a knife, or by peeling back their soft skin using your fingers. This should leave only the tube that contains tentacles and mantle.
Now, gently pull away from the body the tentacles. Next, cut away any top parts with hard beaks located just under the eyes, trim long tentacles to have equal length, look inside for plastic-like quills in its body and pull those out before using your new squid!
As part of your squid cleaning, it is also worthwhile removing its cuttle bone, located near its mouth and looking like a small piece of glass. Although typically discarded after being separated from its body, some chefs keep this bone for texture in dishes like calamari.
3. Remove the cuttlebone
Before beginning to cook with squid, it must first be thoroughly cleaned – this can be completed quickly and easily with some tricks in place. By following these guidelines you’ll be able to cook whole squid effortlessly in recipes such as Shanghai-style braised or stir-fried with red onion.
Start by disassembling the head and innards using either pliers or strong hands if available; just ensure that your squid has an enjoyable seawater scent without any offensive odors that might inhibit it’s removal from its home environment. Wear rubber gloves while doing this process! Ideally you want it to smell of seawater but any foul odors should also be absent from its makeup.
Next, remove the tentacles. This can be accomplished by pulling them from their tube of attachment; however, cutting them off would ensure uniform length across them all. Also remember to dispose of any pieces of cartilage like beaks that might remain.
After that, it’s time to remove the fins – small, round pieces of flesh hanging off of either side of a squid’s body – using either your hands or a sharp knife. Pulling these off should usually be easy, though if necessary cut them with caution as too deep a cut could expose its internal organs and possibly put you at risk of an infection.
Finally, remove the cuttlebone. This non-edible piece of cartilage lies within the body tube of a squid and needs to be extracted by reaching your fingers into its tail or body and feeling for its quill (a small piece of clear plastic that looks similar to an eyelash). Once found, simply pull it out.
Once your squid has been stripped of its head, innards, fins and cuttlebone, you can start prepping it for cooking. Rinsing well beforehand is essential; any residue dirt could lead to overcooking and rubberiness later on. In order to preserve its shape while it cooks as well as make removing its thin skin easier later.
4. Remove the skin
Cleaning squid is an integral step in the preparation process and offers another added benefit: harvesting its ink for use in many recipes due to its umami flavor and natural hue. Cleaned squid can be purchased at a premium price; however, buying whole and cleaning it yourself can be relatively effortless. When shopping whole squid packages without excessive ice crystals or signs of freezer burn is best; otherwise let it thaw in the refrigerator prior to cooking it.
To clean a squid, start by extracting its head and innards by gripping its tail in one hand and the head in another before gently pulling apart with a twisting motion until all innards have been expelled from its body. Next, pull apart tentacles from arms; these may be eaten but discarded; tentacles from arms can also be eaten as long as their hard beak is not. With both tentacles and arms removed from its head you can cut up its body into sections which all three parts can be treated similarly; although for maximum color matching effect cooking may require separate preparation in separate pots in separate pots so as to avoid mismatched colors between body sections when cooking several ingredients together.
Cut off its mantle, pull away its skin with your fingers, and push out any cartilaginous pieces such as the cuttlebone (by reaching in or pushing), as well as any purple membrane still attached. Scrape any loose membrane away as necessary before moving on with cleaning the rest.
Once the beak has been extracted, any remaining tentacles can be gently pulled apart and set aside.