Friday, August 17, 2012

How to Clean Squid

I am very fortunate to be living near the coast where there is an abundance of fresh sea life to be eaten. For the last few years I have been meaning to get back into fishing. Finally this summer I went out and purchased 2 fishing poles and fresh/salt water fishing permits. I also have been very lucky to have met many interesting and helpful fishermen who have given me great fishing tips, hooks/lures to try and even a few fish tales! Recently I was jigging for squid and I was told by an avid fisherman 'not to fish like a man!' After that tip I jigged more gently and brought home 15 squid. Wow, who would have known??!  : D

these are the squid I caught
1) find the clear cartilage on the tail and pull it out (easier said than done!),
or take a stick (such as a chopstick)
and insert it between the cartilage and tail
and run it all the way down to the tip of the tail
2) pull out the head/tentacles, innards, and clear cartilage
(discard the cartilage)
3) peel off the thin outer skin
4) cut off the eyes and beak
(the beak is found in the middle of the tentacles by the eyes)
5) save the cleaned tentacles

squid can be left whole, cut into rings or
cut into flat pieces depending what you will be cooking
if you prefer not to keep the squid whole then instead of step #1,
you can take a pair of scissor and cut right down the middle of the tail
and remove the squid tentacles, clear cartilage and innards
(a much quicker way to clean squid)
carefully cut out the ink sacs
(tear-drop shape)
and save them for later use,
discard the rest of the innards
1) cut the squid into 2-inch pieces
2) score the inside of each piece diagonally,
about 1-2 mm deep with a knife,
avoid going through the squid

(this will give them a nicer look and helps
to tenderize them when cooked)
squid is translucent when raw
and will turn opaque when cooked
when you scored the squid pieces
they will curl up when cooked,
making them look pretty
*Of course, if you do not want to jig for your own squid or clean them then you can just visit your favorite local grocery store and may be able to purchase them all cleaned.  

Addendum:
Update as of May 2016. I recently had to clean 10 pounds of squid and would like to add a few of my new tips to this post. Take a hold of the squid in one hand and pull out the tentacles with the other. Find the clear cartilage (along the body) and pull this out and discard. Peel the outer layer and discard. Take a spoon and scrape the inside of the squid. This will clean out the inside very well. Use a pair of kitchen shears (scissors) and cut out the eyes and mouthpiece (located on the tentacles) and discard. Save the squid ink sac from the innards (if you want to eat it later). If you use a knife to cut there is a high chance you may puncture the eye and the eye liquid may squirt into your face (believe me this happened to me during this cleaning). It did not happen when I used the shears. Wash the squid body and tentacles with a little vinegar to remove the slime. Rinse everything well with water. After you have cleaned a few squid then the process will get easier. Also, be sure to eat before you plan on cleaning 10 pounds of squid since it will take up some of your time! Wear old clothes as the squid ink is almost impossible to remove.

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