How to Clean and Prepare a Squid to Make Calamari

Calamari rings or strips bear so little resemblance to the squid from which they came that it is hard to know where to begin when confronted with a fresh squid. If done correctly, however, squid cleaning can be simple, quick, and minimally messy.

Steps

  1. Image titled Clean and Prepare a Squid to Make Calamari Step 1
    1
    Lay squid on a sheet of newspaper. You will see the head, where the eyes and tentacles are, is distinctly separate from the body, or mantle .
  2. Image titled Clean and Prepare a Squid to Make Calamari Step 2
    2
    Put on rubber or latex gloves. These are not necessary for safely handling squid, but will keep squid residue from getting on your hands and imparting a "fishy" smell.
  3. Image titled Clean and Prepare a Squid to Make Calamari Step 3
    3
    Grasp the squid's head right behind the eyes where it joins the mantle. Pull gently and steadily forward, keeping a firm grasp on the head. The internal organs should slide out.
  4. Image titled Clean and Prepare a Squid to Make Calamari Step 5
    Image titled Clean and Prepare a Squid to Make Calamari Step 4
    4
    Reach into the mantle, which now resembles an empty sack. Feel for a hard, fingernail like sheathing; grab this and pull it out.
  5. Image titled Clean and Prepare a Squid to Make Calamari Step 6
    5
    Gently scrape the outer surface of the mantle with a sharp knife. The speckles on the squid should peel off in a cellophane-like sheet, leaving behind slick white meat.
  6. Image titled Clean and Prepare a Squid to Make Calamari Step 7
    6
    Cut the mantle into rings by slicing vertical to the line of the squid's back. Set aside.
  7. Image titled Clean and Prepare a Squid to Make Calamari Step 8
    7
    Fold the newspaper around the unwanted squid parts, and dispose.

Tips

  • The squid's ink is contained in a silvery sac (about .5 cm long). This can be punctured, releasing the ink, which is used to flavour some dishes.

Warnings

  • Like all seafood, squid must be either cooked or refrigerated promptly to reduce disease risk.

Things You'll Need

  • Squid
  • Sharp knife
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Newspaper
  • A plate or Tupperware container

Article Info

Categories: Cleaning Food | Fish and Seafood