Squid, Calamari & Cuttlefish
Available wild-caught, these marine cephalopods have smooth, light brownish-pink skin with a purpley-blue stripe running down the tube, 8 shorter arms and 2 longer tentacles. They are found around the southern half of Australia (including Tasmania) on the continental shelf and slope between the surface and 825m, most commonly at 50-200m. They tend to gather near the seabed during the day and spread out at night throughout the water, coming to the surface to feed.
They are mainly caught in Bass Strait and western Victoria by jigging (using lights to attract the squids to the water’s surface at night), and also as a bycatch of trawling between Botany Bay and western Victoria and occasionally as far north as southern Queensland.
Aero Squid, Aeroplane Squid, Arrow Squid, Seine Boat Squid, Seined Squid, Torpedo Squid.
Ommastrephidae (Flying Squids).
Available year round with peak from February to May.
Size and Weight
Average 700g, but females can grow to 1.6kg and 40cm (males are smaller).
Giant Squid, Ilex squid, New Zealand Arrow Squid.
When purchasing fresh whole Squid look for intact bright skin, with a light brown to purple mottled appearance, 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 and cut off the arrow-shaped top of the tube.
Peel tube; side fins and tip of tube can also be peeled and used. Cut the hard suckers off arms and tentacles and slice flesh on the diagonal into bite-sized pieces; thick arms and tentacles can be sliced in half lengthways then cut into pieces.
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.
Large specimens can be quite tough and the flesh can be tenderised by hitting gently with a meat mallet. It is also possible to cook squid without peeling it, the skin will turn a dark purple as it cooks.
Average yield is 80%. Has a mild, subtle flavour, low-medium oiliness, and is dry with a firm texture, which can be tougher than other squids 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).
Goes Well With
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 Squid, Calamari, Cuttlefish and, in some recipes, Octopus.
Various species of Squid are imported whole, as frozen tubes and pre-sliced rings.
Squid & Apple Salad
Squid & Fennel Bruschetta
Stir-Fried Squid with Black Beans, Bok Choy & Noodles
Linguine ai Frutti di Mare