Learn about the following species groups (including their most common members, as well as purchasing, storage and cooking information), or select a specific species from the species list on the right.
Loliginidae (calamaries, inshore squids).
Available wild-caught, these small cephalopods are found right along Australia’s east coast, from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Bass Strait and the eastern coast of Tasmania, in bays, estuaries and even brackish water, usually among seagrass to depths of about 50m. They have large dark spots on their squat bodies with, yellow-pink colouring around the edges and large fins running half the length of their body. Their name comes from organs on their ink sac which, fuelled by luminescent bacteria in the water, glow to help hide the squid’s silhouette from predators.
Available year round with limited supply.
Can grow to about 8cm mantle length.
Californian squid, Gould’s squid, loligo squid, northern calamari, southern calamari.
When purchasing fresh whole squid look for bright, intact pale skin, with dark spots, intact head, arms and tentacles and a pleasant fresh sea smell. Cleaned tubes should be white without any brown markings.
Make sure squid is gutted and cleaned thoroughly. Wrap in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months below -18ºC.
To clean whole squid: grasp the arms and pull firmly to separate head from tube (try not to break the ink sac, as the ink stains), cut below the eyes and discard head and guts, push beak (mouth) out from between the arms. Remove quill, peel skin off by grasping side fins and peeling around the tube. Side fins can be peeled and used; arms and tentacles can also be washed and used. If cutting tube into rings, wash inside well to remove any remaining gut, otherwise, cut tube open along the obvious seam, lay out flat and wipe the inside clean with a clean cloth. Slice into strips, or score in a hatch pattern (called ‘honeycombing’) and slice into larger chunks. It is also possible to cook squid without peeling it, the skin will darken as it cooks. Average yield is 80%. It has a mild, subtle flavour, low-medium oiliness, and is dry with firm texture, which can be tough if poorly prepared. The flesh is translucent when raw and white when cooked.
Steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue, raw (sashimi). To be tender, squid must be cooked very quickly over high heat or very slowly over low heat. The flesh of the mantle, fins, arms and tentacles is suitable for a wide variety of preparations, whole tubes can be stuffed and baked, strips or rings can be dusted in seasoned flour and deep-fried or marinated and char-grilled or stir-fried. The ink can be used to flavour and colour risotto or pasta (though cuttlefish ink is traditionally used).
Black beans, capers, capsicum, chilli, fresh herbs, garlic, ginger, green onions, lemongrass, lemon, lime, mushrooms, olive oil, olives, potato, salad leaves, soy sauce, tomato.
Other squids, calamari, cuttlefish and, in some recipes, octopus.
While luminous bay squid are native to Australia, various other species of squid are imported whole, as frozen tubes and pre-sliced rings.
Crumbed Squid Rings >
Squid & Apple Salad >
Squid & Fennel Bruschetta >
Stir-Fried Squid with Black Beans, Bok Choy & Noodles >
Warm Asian Salad of Squid >
Mixed Seafood Dishes
Linguine ai Frutti di Mare >
Seafood Teppanyaki >
Vietnamese-style Stuffed Squid with Asian Slaw >