Many home cooks, even those who feel relatively comfortable working with seafood, feel intimidated by cephalopods like octopus and squid. While we know they look and taste beautiful, their strange body shape and texture can be off-putting if you don’t know how to best utilise it.
We’ve got some super easy recipes using octopus and squid to share, plus a host of cooking and preparation tips to make your next cephalopod dish shine.
Cephalopods require either very quick cooking over a high heat, or very long cooking over a low heat – anything in between renders them tough. If you choose low and slow, braising in liquid is a great way to make sure octopus stays tender, like in this recipe for Braised Octopus with Tomato and Olives. When it’s done, a wooden skewer should pierce it easily.
Most Sydney Fish Market retailers will clean and tenderize the octopus for you, so it’s ready to go when you get it delivered. (Order here).
Deep-frying, when done properly, is another great way to cook cephalopods. It’s fast, it quickly seals the food’s surface, locking in flavour and moisture, and it adds appealing crunch, colour, and aroma.
Salt and pepper squid is a popular restaurant menu item, that you can make even more delicious and visually appealing by using Octopus, in this recipe for Deep-Fried Salt & Pepper Octopus! Order it from Nicholas Seafood (here) and they’ll clean it for you at no extra charge.
Squid will come pre-cleaned from any SFM retailer (order here), but to ensure it doesn’t become tough, make sure to remove the transparent membrane that lines both sides of its tube. To do this, lay the tube out flat on a work surface and firmly wipe both sides with paper towel; wiping across the tube, not from top to bottom, works best.
This stir-fry recipe, Stir-Fried Squid with Black Beans, Bok Choy & Noodles, is a great way to add squid into your repertoire without getting too far out of your comfort zone. Throw into the pan last, after all your vegetables, and only cook it for a minute to keep it tender and prevent chewiness.
This dish, Vietnamese-style Stuffed Squid with Asian Slaw, is on the more adventurous side, but is also super easy to achieve once your squid are prepped! You can purchase cleaned Loligo Squid from GetFish (order here), and then just follow the steps in this video to prepare it.
Squids’ tubular bodies are perfect containers for filling with all sorts of other ingredients – this recipe uses a simple combination of seafood and vegetables, but it’s a very versatile dish… you could also add rice, pork mince, other vegies, or herbs.