Squid may be a little scary, but it’s one of the simplest, tastiest and least expensive seafood options out there.
On our recent trip to St. Lawrence Market, we picked up some nice cleaned squid and made a simple, but delicious meal.
For those of you who are not fans of squid, or like to pretend that they don’t have tentacles, you may want to skip the next couple of paragraphs. I’m about to discuss “squid parts”.
Cleaned squid is really a great thing, for those of us that are not fond of guts. Many moons ago, I picked up a box of frozen mini squid from Chinatown, and quickly found out that they were not just nice clean white tubes, ready for cooking! After thawing, I had to do some gross things like pulling off heads, pulling out guts, and dealing with ink. Squids have a couple of places that contain ink sacs – one is in the tube part, and the other is around the single staring eye. The preparing of these squids was kinda gross, lots of work… and, in the end, the squids just weren’t that good.
I did not prepare squid on my own again until recently when I discovered the glory that is cleaned squid!! For the most part, the icky work is done for you – guts and ink sacs are removed (sweet!), along with the creepy eye. The plastic spine may or may not be completely gone, and the first time I got these there were still beaks in the head (did you know squids have beaks!??!) Also, you have to pull off the heads and deal with tentacles. This is really not a big deal. I even pulled off the beaks with no trouble. Other than that, all you really need to do is rinse them off and prepare them for cooking!
Squid has a very delicate flavour, and a texture that can range from perfectly chewy to rough rubber-bandy; so you will need to handle with care.
For seasoning, I keep it basic: garlic, wine, butter, lemon and a light dusting of herbs & spices (dill & cayenne, usually). You want to be careful not to over cook the squid, otherwise you end up with the rubber bands. I found that the grill pan was perfect for this.
Combined with some veggies, baked sweet potatoes and a healthy glass of wine, it was the perfect meal!