Call it odd, creepy, or downright weird, but my absolute, number one FAVORITE PROTEIN is squid. Yes, that's right: grilled, deep fried, pan-seared, you name it, I'll eat it and love it. But I know a lot of people are scared to cook it. And searching the internet, there really aren't a ton of squid recipes ( and in particular, healthy squid recipes ) out there.
I figured it was time to do my part and teach y'all a little bit about squid, plus give you a great, foolproof, spicy, braised squid recipe.
Before you get to cooking though, you should know...
How to Clean Squid
Don't be afraid! These days most squid comes cleaned or mostly cleaned for you!
However, if you end up with squid that feel like they have a sharp piece of plastic inside, make sure to check both the body tube ( long top part of the squid ) for a long quill-type of cartilage ( called the cuttlebone ), AND check the tentacles for a smaller beak.
To remove the cuttle / cuttlebone, grasp it firmly with one hand and the meaty tube with another, and pull. The cartilage should slide out easily. If for some reason it doesn't, you can open the tube with a knife and remove it that way.
To remove the beak, squeeze the tenticles right where they connect, and the beak should slide out.
Careful, though! All of this cartilage tends to be sharp!
If there is a speckled skin on the squid, you can simply peel it off. It is edible though, and removing it is just for presentation / aesthetics.
How to Cook Squid
There are two general ways to cook tender squid:
- Quickly ( grill, pan sear, deep fry, etc )
- Slowwwwwwly ( braising )
Although I love the quick methods, for your first time cooking squid, I recommend the braising method, like in this recipe. Squid, like shrimp, overcook in a flash, and will become tough, rubbery little bleghs in your meal.
No one wants a rubbery little blegh in their meal.
However - you CAN definitely use this same basic recipe and quick cook the squid in the sauce - just make sure to check it regularly and remove it from the heat when the squid is JUST underdone - about 10 minutes into cooking.
Along those lines, don't fret if you try a piece halfway through cooking! The squid in this recipe will cook perfectly, then taste overdone, then come back and soften up again towards the end of braising, which is what makes this such a great first squid recipe: wiggle room! Once the squid becomes tender at the end of the braise, you have a little bit more time to remove it from the heat before it tightens up again.
And who doesn't like a little wiggle room?!
Other Squid Recipes You Might Love:
Spicy Squid in Tomato Sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 1 bulb fennel medium, thinly sliced ( about a heaping cup )
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 lbs Squid Clean Raw Tubes, sliced and Tentacles
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
- ¼ cup parsley loosely packed
- 2 tbsp fennel fronds roughly chopped
- In a heavy bottom pot ( like a dutch oven ) over medium heat, add the olive oil. Add the sliced fennel bulb, onions, and salt. Saute until they soften, about 8 minutes.
- Add the tomato paste, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Stir to combine and saute for another two minutes.
- Add the red wine and crushed tomatoes. Stir. Add the squid. Let the pot come to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium low, maintaining the simmer.
- Simmer for 45 minutes uncovered, or until tender. If the squid is not tender after 45 minutes, cook for 10 more minute increments until it is tender.
- Remove from heat, and stir in the fresh parsley and fennel fronds.
- Serve over angel hair pasta!