Preface to Calamari -Squid  

 

 

Squid has become a very popular dish because of the mild taste of its meat and because of its adaptability to various types of cooking. In many restaurants it is presented fried as an appetizer, or prepared as “Frutti di Mare”, a delicious salad mixed with shrimps, other fish and celery in a garlic-lemon dressing, served as appetizer or entree. 
Calamari cooked in tomato sauce is a main dish that goes well with crusty bread for dunking, or over pasta.  
Squid stuffed with herbed breadcrumbs, fish and other ingredients, simmered in a wine sauce is one of my preferred dishes.
The calamari marinated overnight and broiled or baked with breadcrumbs can be served as a main dish or as appetizer. 

Squid come in all sizes; some deep sea squids grow as big as 50 feet. The smaller squid, 6 to 8 in a pound, are preferred because the meat is not tough and have a pleasant taste and texture. 
The favored squid on the east coast are the ones caught in the northern Atlantic near the New England states and are available fresh in the New York Metropolitan area and in ethnic markets where Mediterranean food is sold.
Frozen northern Atlantic squid is exported and is available in specialty shops all over the USA

 

                              Raw Calamari

  

How to Clean Squids 

 

To clean the squid separate them into two parts by pulling gently by the tentacles. Set the tentacles and the sacks in separate bowls, and cover with cold water.
Prepare the tentacles by placing each piece on the cutting board and while holding the tentacles cut out the eyes, remove and discard what is attached to them. Discard the little round ball which is the mouth of the squid.
Cut and split the tentacles in half (5 tentacles in each half), if cleaning larger squid split in 3 or 4.
Wash tentacles using salt and rinse a few times to remove any sand attached into the suckers and refrigerate.

                                      Calamari in Ice

To clean the sacks insert your finger inside and remove the transparent cartilage and any other parts left in it. Lay each sack flat on the counter and with the help of a knife peel the skin and remove the wings. Cut into rings ½ inch to make fried calamari, 1 inch for all the other uses except stuffed. Wash them using salt and rinse a few times; remove any particle(s) attached to the rings and refrigerate. 

 

How to Boil Calamari  

Boiling the squid is a necessary deed to prepare the calamari either for salad or in sauce. It is also necessary to go an extra step and to boil the squid, tentacles and bodies separately, in order to avoid the dark tint of the tentacles to transfer into the rings, which would lose their bright whitish appetizing color characteristic of the squid salad; also when boiling the tentacles, part of their brownish pigment will disperse into the water and cause the calamari in tomato sauce to come out in a murky almost black shade gravy. 

Two pots with salted water are needed.     

As stated above: cut the bodies into ½ inch rings and the tentacles in half.   

In a large pot place the squid rings, 1/2 lemon (squeeze the juice in the water), 1 bay leaf, abundant salt and bring to a boil. Lower to a medium heat and cook for about 25 minutes. Shut off heat and test a ring for tenderness. If they are not ready leave in the cooking water for an additional 5 minutes or until tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside.

 

                                        Boiled Calamari

   

In a smaller pot, place the tentacles, 1/2 lemon (squeeze the juice in water), 1 bay leaf, teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes. Shut off heat and leave tentacles in the cooking water for an additional 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove and set aside.   

 

  

The recipes: 

Calamari Squid Salad

Fried Calamari Squidi

Squid Calamari in Tomato Sauce

Stuffed Calamari Squid