How to Prepare Squid for Cooking

Fried squid. Squid for cooking is cleaned assiduously.
Image by Paul Mackey from Pixabay

Squid is a cephalopod which puts it in the same class as octopus, cuttlefish or ink fish as some people call them. When you prepare squid for cooking it’s often the case that you need to conduct a fair bit of preparation but it is not a daunting task.

Preparation Of A Squid For Filling

Most squid is cut up into rings but it is also stuffed with a filling and the preparation is similar. The first job is to check the freshness of this animal before cooking. There should be no off-smells especially ammonia based ones. Then, reach into the body with your fingers and pull out any insides. These are attached to the head. Remove the plastic-feeling quill from inside the body and any of that soft white material as Rick Stein would call it.

Next, remove the off-purple skin which comes away extremely easy. If it remains, when you cook it the skin shrinks and squeezes the flesh which is not what is required. Cut away the two fins and skin them too.

Give the squid another wash. Cut away the tentacles from the head and the tentacles which are just in front of the eyes. Squeeze the beak out from the centre of the tentacles and discard. It is never eaten.

Preparation Of A Squid For Cutting Into Pieces

The squid for cooking can be cut into strips. Pull the head and insides from the body as described above. Open up the body with a sharp knife from the top to its bottom. Flatten out.

Remove the quill and any soft white tissue on the inside and the skin from the surface. Treat the tentacles and head as before.

What to do with the Ink?

The ink is often used in sauces or for colouring pasta. The ink sac is recognizable by having a blue tinge and being pearly coloured. Keep aside for later use or discard.

There are a couple of muscles that can be detached and used. Some chefs remove these for other use.

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