Does the word “squid” make you skiddish? Perhaps that’s why squid are often referred to by their Italian name on restaurant menus (“calamari” is the plural form of the Italian word “calamaro”). I’ll admit that I have a hard time getting past those eyes when I see a whole squid…


Makes you think of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, doesn’t it?

Here are some facts about squid:

  • There are over 300 varieties
  • Squid only live in water but can live in either fresh water or salt water
  • They are most commonly about 10-12 inches long though some are as large as 40 feet

  • The largest squid ever found weighed 1000 lbs.! It was found off the coast of New Zealand in 2007.
  • They are high in protein, vitamin B and iron but also high in cholesterol
  • Japanese consume the most squid of any population (around 700,000 tons annually)


Squid are found in Asian as well as Mediterranean dishes, but I’ll focus on several ways the way Italians like them. For a very informative and entertaining video about cooking squid, check out Alton Brown’s Good Eats show called Squid Pro Quo, Part 1 and Part 2.


Facts about eating squid:

  • Squid freeze well, so you may prefer to purchase them frozen, rather than deal with cleaning them and looking at those eyes and tentacles!
  • Everything except the beak and gladius (the long, thin horn-like bodypart inside of the squid) can be eaten.
  • To prevent toughness, squid must be fried for less than two minutes, or else simmered in a sauce for a long time.
  • Squid can be stuffed whole, cut into flat pieces or sliced into rings.


Cleaning squid:

  • First, separate the tentacles from the body, which will release the inside parts which are thrown away.

  • Scrape off the reddish/pink scales…


  • Then cut the tubular body into strips or rings…

These can be batter-coated and deep fried…that’s my favorite way to eat them! They can be salted and served plain, or else paired with hot peppers, garlic aioli or a generous squeeze of lemon.  Or, keep it simple and just stir-fry them with a bit of olive oil and garlic…

My husband loves squid…I made a simple tomato sauce, added some small, frozen squid, and let them simmer for about 25 minutes. He said they were great! I was still thinking about those eyes and chose to just eat the pasta with sauce.

To avoid squid tasting chewy, like rubber bands (a common complaint), just make sure you either cook them only 2-3 minutes, or simmer them a long time.




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