Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Cook-Off 62: Squid, Calamari and Octopus


Recommended Posts

Welcome to the 2013 kick-off of our popular eG Cook-Off Series. In 2012, our Cook-Offs ran the gamut from “Hash,” to “Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish,” onto “Banh Mi” and ending the 2012 season with a discussion of “Gels, Jell-O, Aspic.” (Click here http://forums.egullet.org/topic/143994-egullet-recipe-cook-off-index/ for the complet eG Cook-Off Index).

I made a personal discovery during our “Gels, Jell-O, Aspic” Cook-off. I found a little metal Jell-O mold on a dark, back shelf in a kitchen cupboard. That little mold led to a cherished family memory and became the vessel that would hold one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever crafted. (Click here http://forums.egullet.org/topic/143597-cook-off-61-gels-jell-o-and-aspic/ to read about the delicious jiggly dishes we created).

Today we’re going to venture into the depths of a discussion about a sea-dweller that is so scary looking to some they refuse to eat the delicious little devils. The horrors of being presented with a steaming bowl of soup with little appendages peeking out.

Join in and let’s put forth our very best “Squid, Calamari and Octopus” dishes. Knowing your passion for cuisine, I don’t expect to see squid rings coated in gummy batter and deep-fried to the point that they bounce on the floor like a rubber ball. No, I’m guessing we’ll plate some fabulous dishes that showcase the versatility of these unique creatures.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In my understanding, "calamari" is simply Italian for the plural of "squid," although in the US it's become pretty much synonymous with the deep-fried (or sometime pan-fried) version. In your last paragraph, I assume you intended those two words to mean different things. Could you tell us what those are?

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

Link to post
Share on other sites

You are correct that in America we often use calamari and squid as interchangeable words to describe the same thing. I see it as the same discussion we find with the terms shrimp, prawns and tiger prawns. The same item yet with a loose definition for most consumers.

Menus at mid-level restaurants and bars tend to use the term calamari since that's more familiar and appealing to a mass-customer base. And yes, it's synonymous with the deep-fried stuff. We're talking frozen calamari, (a.k.a. squid), rings that are pre-cooked, breaded, frozen and packed into 5lb. bags, shipped to a food service company and then on to an individual restaurant. I've been to places where they don't include the tentacles and simply serve the rings. Again, an attempt I suppose to appeal to customers who just like deep-fried, crunchy food they can dip into bottled marinar or tartar sauce. (Personally, I prefer the tentacles).

On the other hand, when I dine at an upscale Italian restaurant the Chef always uses the term squid on his menu. He's from Northern Italy and stays true to not only his cooking but authentic descriptions on his menu. Regardless of how he prepares it, it's "squid."

I've gone through a large number of my Chinese cookbooks and they all use the term "squid," whether it be deep-fried, braised or stir-fried.

In the opening paragraph, unintentionally, I used the terms interchangeably, so I'm glad you brought the question forward. Great starting point for our discussion and cook-off.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great idea for a Cook-Off, David. I live on a North Atlantic bay where squid are showing up in big numbers for the first time in a long time. Kids jig and catch them easily with barbless hooks. Count me in.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

Link to post
Share on other sites

You forgot about CUTTLEFISH. :smile:

In SE Asia, it was more common to eat cuttlefish. (See also: Geographical range of cuttlefish)

Ah. So you're going to show us a delicious Cuttlefish dish!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the link. Ironically, like the BBC recipe I'm going to be using squid and cannelini beans in one of my dishes. And I love the combination of smoky chorizo and seafood. Luckily, I have some dried Spanish chorizo in my fridge so I think I might work that into my dish.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Working on my first dish. It's a combination of a number of recipes, including a squid dish from Mario Batali. Well, he calls it Squid in the title of the dish, "Squid from Santa Lucia's Port," (Calamari alla Luciana), yet refers to calamari in the text of the recipe. I'm hoping his instructions to cook the squid twice, the first time for 50 minutes and the second cooking for 30 minutes, won't overcook the buggars to the texture of shoe leather.

Link to post
Share on other sites

So I'm getting ready to cook a squid dish and I'm wondering about this business of "corks." Is it truly a legendary tale told by a Greek Fisherman? Do old wine corks really tenderize squid and octopus? What say you?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I chronicled my attempts with pre-tenderized calamari steaks here. My current favorite is to slice them in 1/2" strips and marinate for a bit with olive oil and a mash-up in the mortar and pestle of salt, peppercorns, mint, and lemon zest. I then slide them the broiler getting just a hint of char and super tender flesh.

Long ago I stuffed the small bodies with a sausage mixture and cooked them long and slow in a tomato based sauce. I may give that a go again for this Cook-Off.

I usually purchase octopus in small quantities, already cooked, to make rough sushi style bites - rolled with rice and sushi ginger in nori and dipped in soy/wasabi. My sister in Sydney, however, planted the idea of one of their Christmas regulars from the grill - baby octopus marinated in honey and soy. She buys them cleaned. The ones I see in my Asian markets look like they are intact with the sac. I would love some pointers on prep of these little guys and would then give them a go.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm hoping his instructions to cook the squid twice, the first time for 50 minutes and the second cooking for 30 minutes, won't overcook the buggars to the texture of shoe leather.

To be tender, squid needs either to be cooked as briefly as possible (just until white and opaque) or slowly for a very long time. A total cooking time of 1 hour 20 minutes should see it pass through the shoe leather stage and out the other side.

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the most popular ways to deal with squid in China is Peas and Squid (豌豆鱿鱼). I've been served it in friends' homes and in restaurants. I make it frequently.

This is my usual variation.

Ingredients: Fresh squid, garlic, bird's eye chilli, sweet peas in the pod (snow peas / sugar snap peas etc are equally acceptable), soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, Chinese chives, salt.

The squid innards are removed and the tentacles cut into one inch sections then reserved. The body is split open and flattened and the skin removed. A light cross-hatch pattern is scored at ¼ inch intervals all over the inside surface of the squid body, then it is cut into approximately 1½ inch square sized pieces.

The peas are de-stringed and halved, the garlic crushed and the chilli chopped. A little peanut oil is heated in the wok and the garlic and chilli added. When fragrant (a few seconds) the beans are added and stirred to coat with oil. Fry briefly until desired done-ness is almost achieved. I like them still to have some bite. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add some more oil to the wok, heat it and throw in the squid body and tentacles. Stir vigorously. As soon as it curls up and turns white through ( a matter of seconds), add the peas, soy sauce, oyster sauce and chopped Chinese chives.

Mix well. Sprinkle on some sesame oil, check seasoning and serve immediately. Do not overcook!

Can be served on its own with rice for a simple meal. Or with other dishes as part of a Chinese family style meal.

Sorry, no pictures of the cooking process. That happens too quickly.

squid1.jpg

squid2a.jpg

squid 3.jpg

squid4.jpg

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the most popular ways to deal with squid in China is Peas and Squid (豌豆鱿鱼). I've been served it in friends' homes and in restaurants. I make it frequently.

This is my usual variation.

Ingredients: Fresh squid, garlic, bird's eye chilli, sweet peas in the pod (snow peas / sugar snap peas etc are equally acceptable), soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, Chinese chives, salt.

The squid innards are removed and the tentacles cut into one inch sections then reserved. The body is split open and flattened and the skin removed. A light cross-hatch pattern is scored at ¼ inch intervals all over the inside surface of the squid body, then it is cut into approximately 1½ inch square sized pieces.

The peas are de-stringed and halved, the garlic crushed and the chilli chopped. A little peanut oil is heated in the wok and the garlic and chilli added. When fragrant (a few seconds) the beans are added and stirred to coat with oil. Fry briefly until desired done-ness is almost achieved. I like them still to have some bite. Remove from the wok and set aside.

Add some more oil to the wok, heat it and throw in the squid body and tentacles. Stir vigorously. As soon as it curls up and turns white through ( a matter of seconds), add the peas, soy sauce, oyster sauce and chopped Chinese chives.

Mix well. Sprinkle on some sesame oil, check seasoning and serve immediately. Do not overcook!

Can be served on its own with rice for a simple meal. Or with other dishes as part of a Chinese family style meal.

Sorry, no pictures of the cooking process. That happens too quickly.

attachicon.gifsquid1.jpg

attachicon.gifsquid2a.jpg

attachicon.gifsquid 3.jpg

attachicon.gifsquid4.jpg

Do you always use fresh squid? The only products I have available are frozen, but they seem to work well. I'm wondering if freezing breaks down the squid, ultimately affecting the cooked flavor?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm in Eastern, WA, in Spokane. My fishmonger has very good frozen octopus, baby octopus and two types of squid. We just don't have a large enough demographic over here that would make it worth the cost for him to carry fresh octopus. I might try having something shipped over from Seattle.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For a long time I worked in Seattle but lived in Spokane. I only travel to Seattle occasionally for business, but I'm still fairly well dialed into their food scene.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Similar Content

    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our sixth Cook-Off, we're going to be making pad thai. You've surely eaten this Thai restaurant staple dozens of times, marvelling at the sweet, sour, hot, and salty marriage on your plate. There are lots of variations of pad thai floating around the internet, including one by mamster at the eGCI Thai Cooking course. While there is one ingredient -- rice noodles -- that may be hard for some to find, most ingredients or substitutes are available at your local grocer. And, if you're new to Thai cooking, isn't now a good time to get your first bottle of fish sauce or block of tamarind?
      In addition to the course, here are a few threads to get us started:
      The excellent Thai cooking at home thread discusses pad thai in several spots.
      A brief thread on making pad thai, and one on vegetarian pad thai.
      For the adventurous, here is a thread on making fresh rice noodles.
      Finally, a few folks mention pad thai in the "Culinary Nemesis" thread. Fifi, snowangel, and Susan in FL all mention in the fried chicken thread that pad thai is also a culinary nemesis of theirs. So, in true cook-off style, hopefully we can all share some tips, insights, recipes, and photos of the results!
      I'll start by asking: does anyone know any good mail-order purveyors for folks who can't purchase rice noodles at their local Asian food store?
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our thirteenth Cook-Off, we're making fresh and stuffed Italian pastas, including gnocchi. I would take a bit here and try to say some intelligent things about pasta in general, but I'm very happy to defer to my betters in the eGullet Society's Culinary Institute! Check out Adam Balic's Pasta around the Mediterranean course here, and click here for and the associated Q&A thread. In addition, Moby Pomerance has three eGCI courses: the first on stuffed pastas in general (Q&A here), and the other two on Tortelli, Ravioli & Cappelletti and Pansotti, Tortelloni and Raviolo.
      Of course, there are also lots of other related threads, including several on gnocchi like this one, this one, and this one; a few fresh pasta threads here, here and here; and a thread on pasta machines.
      So break out your Atlas hand-cranked machine (or, if you're like me, start to justify buying that KitchenAid mixer pasta attachment!), dice up a few heirloom tomatoes, and start cooking! No machine? Then you're on tap for gnocchi, my friend!
    • By Chris Amirault
      Welcome to eGullet Cook-Off XLIV! Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      We've just devoted a Cook-Off to braised brisket, and we're turning again to moist, well-cooked proteins for our next adventure: ossobuco. You will see it spelled a number of different ways out there, but Marcella Hazan refers to it as one word in her definitive Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, so I'm going with that spelling. No reason to argue with Marcella, after all.
      Ossobuco is braised veal shank, named after the "bone with a hole" that used to be attached to the hind shank of a calf. (Let's all agree to stick to veal, and not have, say, halibut ossobuco. ) The classic Milanese version includes vegetables, tomatoes, wine, and broth, and is served with risotto alla milanese, perfumed with saffron, and with gremolada.
      Some of the versions out there are a bit wacky. In particular, The Silver Spoon Cookbook simmers the 2" thick shanks for 30 minutes atop the stove. Given that Hazan has 1 1/2" shanks in a 350F oven for two hours, I'm pretty sure the SSC is a waste of good veal. Indeed, I'd think that a much lower oven for longer would work wonders.
      There are more things to talk about here than just braising temps and times! For example, many other versions of ossobuco depart from the Milanese approach. In her out-of-print More Classic Italian Cooking, Hazan provides the recipe for Ossobuchi in Bianco, the white referring to a sauce lacking tomato. In The Fine Art of Italian Cooking, Giuliano Bugialli offers ossobuco Florentine style, with peas and pancetta, and Lynne Rossetto Kasper's Italian Country Table offers a home-style version with mushrooms, favas or snap peas, and more intense flavors such as anchovy, sage, and rosemary.
      We have one short discussion of ossobuco here, and an even shorter one on wine pairings here. Indeed, as is often the case with Italian food, the best discussion is the one shepherded by Kevin72, the Cooking and Cuisine of Lombardia, which muses on on the dish's origins and execution throughout.
      I'm wondering a few things myself. Some folks say that braised veal cannot be reheated, unlike other dishes that benefit from a night in the fridge. I'm also wondering what other sorts of sides -- polenta, say, or the Italian mashed potatoes that Hazan suggests for the ossobuchi in bianco -- would work and/or are traditional.
      So who wants to welcome the new year with some bones with holes?
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our third Cook-Off, we've chosen Indian lamb curry. Yes, it's true: that's a huge category for a cook-off, and saying "Indian" is about as stupidly broad as saying "American." However, like gumbo, there are some basic elements to most of the many, many permutations of this dish, and several cook-off participants wanted to start cooking Indian at home with several options.
      So, instead of choosing a specific lamb curry, I thought that having a conversation about those different permutations (like the gumbo okra/roux discussion, say) would be interesting and fun. I also wanted to avoid too particular ingredients that some of our cook-off pals can't get in certain places.
      A few things that we can discuss, photograph, and share include:
      -- the spice mixture: If you've never toasted your own spices, then you have a world of aromatic wonder ahead. I'm sure many people can share their ingredients, ratios, and toasting tips for curry powders that will blow away the garbage in your grocery's "spice" aisle. We can also have the ground vs. whole debate, if there are takers!
      -- the paste: many curry dishes involve frying a blended paste of onion, garlic, and/or ginger, along with the spices, in oil or ghee (clarified butter). I found that learning how to cook that paste -- which requires the same sort of patience demanded by roux -- was the key to making a deep, rich curry.
      -- accompaniments: rice dishes or bread (I have a pretty good naan recipe that I'd be glad to try out again).
      Here are a couple of related eGullet threads:
      lamb kangari
      a lamb and goat thread
      If anyone finds more, post 'em!
      So: find yourself a leg of lamb to bone, sharpen your knives, and get ready to update your spice drawer!
    • By Chris Amirault
      Every now and then since December 2004, a good number of us have been getting together at the eGullet Recipe Cook-Off. Click here for the Cook-Off index.
      For our fourteenth Cook-Off, we're making bibimbap.

      Aficionados of Korean food and cooking are well aware of this famous dish, but many who have not had the pleasure might find this a surprising cook-off selection. Folks, I'm here to tell you that everyone should bring this remarkable dish into their repertoire.
      What is bibimbap, you ask? In a previous thread devoted to the subject, Jinmyo offered this typically inimitable explanation:
      True, some ingredients (the pickles known as kimchee and the red pepper paste known as gojuchang) may be a bit tricky for you to find, but we can summon up some possible substitutes. No special equipment is absolutely necessary, though if you have one of the stone or metal cook bowls known as dolsots, you'll want to use that. Like cassoulet, bibimbap inspires many debates about authenticity and regionalism, which means that the neophyte can experiment with great flexibility and still claim some amount of technical merit!
      Finally and as always, the eGullet Society is chock-a-block full of experts ready to share ideas and recipes for the various components of this dish, not only on the thread referenced above (click the little pink box in the quotation) but also here, here, and here, with a kimchee thread here and a kochuchang thread here. So turn on your rice cookers and get your beef a-marinating -- and if you have any soju handy, get it damned cold!
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...