Friday, January 21, 2011

I heard the call of Cthulu or how I cooked me up a mess of squid

Growing up listening to national public radio there was sometimes a spoof spot with a furrin type chef with some kind of Adriatic accent who would answer your questions about cookery and entertaining. And no matter what the question, the answer was always squid.

Q: I'm hosting a children's party for 10 five-year-olds, what do you suggest serving?
A: eh-squid, keeds love-a the eh-squid


I do love squid. I'm not a huge fan of deep-fried or breaded calamari, but I'm often in the mood for squid. Partly, if I'm honest, for the shock value. And the more closely it resembles the original animal, the better.

But I've never prepped it from scratch. I've bought some processed squid from Portugese delis over the year (you can get frozen stuffed squid!) and I've been known to use tinned octopus on pizza. In fact, I've never once taken any animal from corpse to plate. Unless you count shrimp from the Gulf, which I don't.

But this week I saw a show with Jamie Oliver -- Suppers to Save Our Seas as part of the Fish Fight series about choosing more sustainable fish resources. One of his top 10 alternative fish choices was squid. He started with the cleaned body, did some scoring, added some lime juice, popped it on the grill - and blammo - easy squid. Out loud I said "Hey, maybe we should get some squid."

Buddy latched onto this instantly. "Squid! Squid! Squid!" he said. For a boy who won't eat anything unless it's breaded, I took this as a hopeful sign that maybe we could expand his palate. I mentioned the squid idea to the Vol-in-Law and he was almost equally enthusiastic. But I know he does actually eat squid.

So over the week there have been casual mentions of the squid thing and last night the boy asked if we were having squid for dinner. Wow! So I promised we'd go shopping for squid today. And he reminded me when I picked him up for nursery. And we did..

At the grocery store, they only had the one squid. A giant looking thing, that I'm pretty sure took down the Nautilus. I was starting to chicken out on the squid idea.

"Do you really want a squid?" I said.
"Yes, yes, yes!! Squid!"

So...look away now if you're on the squeamish side.

squid unwrapped
Squid unwrapped

call of cthulu
I looked up instructions on squid butchery. Each step was described as easy. It wasn't. But honestly, it probably was easier than cleaning a regular fish. It's just that when I pulled and twisted the head, the guts didn't automatically all come out. Extra knife work was required.

And there were other surprises, too. For example, never did I dream that I'd overhear a conversation from our bedroom that went like this:

Daddy, look at this!
Is that from the squid?

squid bone
There was an awesome bit of cartilage - looked like a bit of clear plastic. The boy was intrigued.

I forgot to take pictures of the cleaned, skinned squid tube - but here's the final product. And it was tasty.

Squid's up
Squid sauteed in olive oil with peppers and garlic. Fresh parsley. Served over linguine.

Squid on a plate

But you know what? The boy only nibbled a tiny corner from a bit of squid and then only because we made him.

Keeds love-a the eh-squid? Not around here they don't


~lifedramatic~ said...

Ehehehe!! I saw that episode too! Still didn't make me want to try to eat squid again though. I love love love the pictures of the squid and the kiddo! What an adorable picture of him with the cartilage! Your dish looks tasty, I must admit! Hmmm we're both posting food pictures now. Must be something in the air!


genderist said...

Oh! The finished plate looks really pretty. I'm not much of a squid-eater, but I'd try it. Sounds good.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that you did all that work for a little rubbery piece of squid. But, it was a "teachable moment" for the boy.
Your cooking skills are, I am afraid, lost on him. Does H's prepare squid? Would the boy eat it there? Polly