Processing and preparing squid

Plus, a recipe
Fri, 12/09/2016 - 9:00am
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In last week’s article, I wrote a primer on squid fishing. This week we look at processing it, and a fun recipe to prepare.  

First and foremost, if you have never worked with fresh squid, they have the potential to make a mess if their ink sack is disturbed or ruptured, which is almost unavoidable when processing them for the conventional calamari we’re so familiar with on restaurant menus. The accompanying processing technique is designed to keep the ink mess to a minimum. This recipe is for a delicious panko crusted squid, with marinara sauce and melted cheese. I’d also like to note that for as many techniques for processing and cooking squid, this is what works easiest for me. 

To begin processing: 

- Start with the squid laid out on the board with its clasper tentacles extended.

- Part the head at the tube, then in front of the eyes to separate the tentacles. Squeeze the bulb from the tentacles. (This is critically important as not removing the mouth parts and bulb from inside the tentacles is like unexpectedly biting into a pitted cherry you didn’t realize had a pit. ) Last for this step, cut off the two long clasper tentacles. 

- To remove the skin and flippers, hold the tube at the very tip with your dominant hand. With your thumb and index finger of your other hand squeeze both flippers together and pull down. Most of the skin should come with them. 

- Put the squid top side down. The top side of the squid has the quill. Very carefully run the knife just along the inside of the tube to expose the entrails. From the tip of the open tube pull the quill from the tube. The entrails and merciless ink sack come out easily. 

- Last, for the accompanying recipe, part the squid “sheet” into quarters.

Squid Pizza Bites

- Cut the squid into bite-sized squares, along with the tentacles, and encrust with panko. To do that, roll the squid pieces in flour, then put the floured pieces into an egg wash, then completely coat with panko.

- Deep fry the squares and tentacles until the panko is golden brown. In my deep fryer, set to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, the pieces take less then two minutes to brown accordingly. (The squid is ready to eat now and may be dipped into a marinara or cocktail sauce, but I like my marinara and melted cheese dish).

- Lay out the panko’d squid bites on a cookie sheet, making sure the oven is pre-heated to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Then put a dollop of marinara on each piece, followed by a layer of your favorite grated cheese. Place in oven just until the cheese is completely melted. Plate, and enjoy! 

Catch ‘em up!