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Forget stories portraying squid as monsters from the deep equipped with enormous tentacles. In the “Fish & Seafood” section of your Metro supermarket, you’ll discover the squid we eat are much less intimidating. The sweet taste and distinctive texture of this 12 to 20 in. (30 to 50 cm) of this small shellfish will win you over. Following are some tips for cleaning, preparing and cooking squid that will ensure you enjoy them thoroughly.

Cleaning Squid


When cleaning squid, remember that only the body, fins and tentacles are edible. The ink bag is also included in some recipes.

  • Grasp the body firmly with one hand and with the other pull on the tentacles (the head and viscera should follow).
  • With your fingers, loosen the “spine” (transparent backbone that looks like a piece of plastic) and pull it out.
  • Remove the pinkish-grey membrane covering the body and fins and discard it. Rinse the squid under running water.
  • Using a knife, remove the fins from the body.
  • Separate the tentacles from the head, cutting them just below the eyes, discarding the head.
  • Turn the tentacles inside out like a glove to expose their lip, remove and discard it.

In Rings, Pieces, Strips...


It’s best to slice the squid in strips lengthwise for more tender texture. Many recipes also call for squid cut in thin rings for more stylish presentation. Fins and tentacles, on the other hand, are sliced into pieces (diced, in sections, etc).

Prepare it Well to Enjoy it More

Squid is found in numerous Asian and Mediterranean dishes. It can be included in a soup or seafood ragoût. It is delicious in a paëlla or as garnish on a pizza. Also tasty fried, sauté over high heat 1 or 2 minutes (in an open skillet or wok) or grilled on the barbecue. You can serve it as well arranged on a bed of mesclun salad with diced fresh tomatoes and sections of oranges. Sprinkle with finely ground coriander and fresh parsley, then drizzle it all with olive oil and a dash of lime juice. The body of squid is also succulent stuffed and sauté in a frying pan or poached in fish-stock served with a tomato coulis.

Some Handy Tips

  • Cooking time for squid must be brief to keep the flesh from hardening and so changing its taste.
  • Before starting a recipe, wash squid thoroughly in water, drain and towel dry.
  • To remove moisture from the squid, brown it over high heat in a non-stick frying pan 4 to 5 minutes or more, depending on the size of the squid. This suggestion is recommended especially when frying squid (after being covered with flour), to keep oil from splattering.
  • Allow 3 to 4 squid per person if served as a main course.

Recipe Suggestions

  • Fried squid rings
  • Squid and zucchini salad
  • Stuffed calamari
  • Tagliatelle con calamari