Posted on June 5th, 2012
Fresh squids are some of the most scrumptious sea-biscuits in the world, but let’s face it they are delicate and finicky. Where I work and live there is no shortage of squids whatsoever, but you need real finesse in the kitchen to be able to cook them ( or not cook them) to perfection.
We have squids coming out of our ears this time of year in Point Judith, RI. Squids ain’t that cheap (which is good for the fishermen). Just because the squids are sometimes used for lobster bait doesn’t mean they are garbage. My friend Chef Jeremy Sewall of Island Creek Oyster Bar in Boston sometimes freezes some of my beautiful fresh squids that would be perfect for your plate and packs them up to use as lobster bait later in the year. I think that’s really funny, but I am a fish nerd. You can tell if your squids are fresh by first staring them straight in the eyeball. Their eyeballs should look like cartoons, white with a clear and not-weepy black dot right in the center.
Next notice the color of the squids skin, If they are very clear they were probably just caught, if they are turning a very dark purple color they are getting a tad older. If their skin is very dark they may have been “refreshed,” that is, frozen and then slacked out to a refreshed state. This is common practice in the seafood industry. It is very rare to get a squid that is still clear and white because they go dark fast. Don’t be alarmed, just smell the squid. If they smell pungent or rotten, then it might be time to use them for bait.
If the last time you had squids for dinner was with your mom at Chili’s after a trip to the mall they were probably fried stiff, of the frozen Chilean variety and nearly unrecognizable by the naked eye. Doesn’t mean you failed, just means you need to step up your game!