Squid, or calamari, is lower in fat and calories than many other protein sources and is beautifully versatile. It can be used for appetizers, soups, salads or main dishes.
It can be sauteed, simmered, stir-fried or baked. It also can be pickled. It can be used in small pieces, in strips, in rings, as a tube with stuffing or in flat filets. Squid also blends itself into many flavor personalities. There are Scandinavian, Asian, Mexican, French, Russian, Spanish, Italian and, of course, American squid variations.
Hints for the chef
Squid belong to the same group of animals as clams, scallops, oysters and abalone.
The flesh is firm, contains very little natural juice and is delicate.
To enjoy the best of this fragile seafood, be careful about cooking times. Three minutes is the maximum time for a sauté and 20 minutes the minimum time for a stew.
The same goes for marinades. Timing is important. Lacking its own juices, squid quickly absorbs marinades and their flavorings. Thirty minutes is probably the maximum soaking time.
Here are several ways you may want to prepare your squid:
For those who haven't cooked squid before, this favorite recipe for pan-fried squid is an easy way to start.
o Cleaned squid cut into 1-in. rings
o 2/3 cup bread crumbs, mixed with
o 1 /3 cup Parmesan cheese
o Milk or egg beaten with 1 Tbs. water
o Your choice of oil (olive, peanut, vegetable, etc.)
Dredge squid rings in flour, dip in milk (or egg mixture), roll in crumb mixture. Allow to rest a few minutes to set crumbs. Fry quickly in oil until golden (about 1 minute on medium heat).
- • 3 lbs. whole squid mantles, cleaned
- • 1/2 cup sour cream
- • 1 /2 cup mayonnaise
- • 2 oz. chopped pimiento
- • 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- • 1 tsp. dried dill weed
- • Salt to taste
Cook mantles in boiling, salted water for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain. Chop squid into small pieces. Mix squid, sour cream, mayonnaise, and pimientos. Add lemon juice, dill weed and salt. Serve chilled with crackers or assorted vegetables.
The whole mantles can be used as alternates for tube-shaped pastas, such as manicotti. Here is one such Italian-style recipe.
- • 2 lbs. cleaned squid mantles (whole)
- • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- • 3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley
- • 1 tsp. dried oregano
- • 1 tsp. dried basil
- • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- • 1/2 cup coarse bread crumbs
- • 1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
- • 2 cup marinara sauce (purchased or your favorite recipe)
- • 2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
- • 1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Combine ricotta, 3/4 c. mozzarella, parsley, oregano, basil, Parmesan and almonds and mix well. Stir in bread crumbs and mushrooms. Stuff squid mantles until plump but not packed. Close opening and secure with toothpick. Pour small amount of marinara sauce into 11x17 inch glass or ceramic baking dish. Arrange squid in single layer in dish. Top with marinara sauce and bake uncovered at 350 F. for 20 minutes. Top with remaining 1/3 c. mozzarella and bake an additional 10 minutes or until squid is tender and filling is bubbly. Serves 4.
Use squid rings or pieces in favorite stir-fry recipes. They go well with Chinese or Japanese style vegetables cooked in a wok.
Here is calamari in Greek attire.
- • 3 lbs. cleaned squid, whole or filets
- • 2 Tbs. olive oil
- • 1 cup chopped onion
- • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- • 2-1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
- • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
- • 1/2 tsp. salt
- • Dash pepper
- • 1/2 tsp. basil
- • 1/2 tsp. oregano
Cook squid in boiling, salted water about 1 hour or until tender. Drain. Cut into pieces. Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil until brown. Add tomatoes, parsley, seasonings, and squid. Cook until tender. Serve hot over rice. Serves 6.8
From: Let's Cook Squid the European Way, University of California Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, assisted by California Department of Fish and Game.