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Squid Three Ways image

Squid Three Ways

Last summer, I was on vacation in Croatia. A lovely place to be, with fresh seafood for lunch and dinner. Among it a daily dose of calamari. Back home, I wondered how to turn squid into a nice appetizer. 

First of all, I use the terms squid and calamari interchangeably. But technically, they are two different animals. Calamari is naturally more tender. But what you buy is most often squid.

One of the good things about squid is that it is not farmed but caught wild. On the other hand, some people would not know how to clean squid or may have had experiences with squid turning out very rubbery. In that case, I would suggest to give another try!

Fresh or frozen?

Fresh when you can, frozen if you have to. That sounds like good advice, but actually frozen squid has slightly different characteristics (on top of the fact that frozen squid is usually cleaned already). Frozen squid tends to be slightly more tender (as a result of ice crystals forming in the cells, which will tenderize the meat).

Squid consist of the tube, the head, arms and tentacles. Inside the tube you may still find a large, transparent backbone. Some squid will still contain a little pocket with black ink. This is considered a delicacy in many Mediterranean countries.

My squid three ways consists of:

  • Grilled tubes of squid
  • Deep fried tube rings
  • Deep fried head and tentacles.

But any preparation in itself will provide you with a nice appetizer (or a lunch main course).

One of the secrets is not to overcook the squid. This will cause it to become very rubbery.

Another secret when grilling is to expect the meat to curl up. This will reduce the contact with the hot surface; the squid will lose its moisture and become dry and tough. The remedy is simple: while the squid is on the grill (or in a skillet) weigh it down properly.

Marinating the tubes for 15 minutes will infuse some additional flavor. Use oil, lemon juice, garlic, black pepper and tenderize the meat.

For the deep frying, prepare a simple batter (I prefer to use flour with some cold mineral water, salt and a good pinch of black pepper).   

Grilled Squid  

Deep Fried Squid