About a week ago Riaz came home from our local fish monger, Bin (pronounced “Bean”) and announced that Bin had squid, lots of it. He hadn’t picked any up, not sure how I would feel about squid, and lots of it, but was wondering if I was interested.
Mmmmm …. calamari! My all time favorite appetizer/bar food/fried food and also the only thing whose tentacles I will eat. Count me in.
Yes! Riaz bring me home some squid, lots of it.
A few days later Riaz returned to Bin’s place and picked up some squid. He came home with this guy and a whole bunch of his buddies.
What the smelly fish eyeballs Batman?!?
(Photographer’s Note: Excuse the weird yellow tone to these pictures. Our kitchen has these lights called “Bug Lights.” I’d never heard of them before I got here, but basically they are yellowish lightbulbs that the bugs are not attracted to the way they are attracted to regular light. You can barely see anything with them on and they annoy the heck out of me. But … the other day I was making plantain fritters and had the florescent light over the stove on and ended up accidentally frying about 6 bugs. It was traumatizing, so bug light it is).
OK – so look … I guess I know that squid don’t actually swim around as pre-cut little fryable rings of goodness, but I was not expecting what I got. It was just … gross. And really really smelly. Like more smelly than the average fish.
Despite my revulsion, I was not to be deterred! We are living in the jungle and I will learn to clean these little squid and turn them into yummy fried perfection.
To help, I watched this, a very helpful tutorial on how to clean a squid. Looked easy enough. No problem.
First off, the video must have cut out the part about where when you gut the squid this gross oozy stuff comes shooting out of the squid and all over your cutting board and your shirt and possibly also in or near your eye. Lets never speak of it again.
The guy in the video also makes it look so easy to remove the little squid bones, guts and skin. I did not find it so easy. I really had to yank at the sucker to get its guts to come out and I spent more time than I care to admit trying to get the squid skin off. I think I still have some skin stuck under my fingernails. All up, I cleaned about 5 squid and it took me OVER AN HOUR. Over an hour of looking at, and smelling like, THIS!
Dear God, help me.
I did eventually get the squid looking like it was supposed to look and fried them up.
So, the real question, was it worth it? The Answer – an emphatic NO! My calamari was ok, but I ended up overcooking the first batch so it was a bit chewy, the rest of the batches were cooked correctly, but the breading recipe I followed was just a little too heavy-handed for my tastes.
However, even if the recipe had been spot on and my calamari had been cooked to perfection, it STILL WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN WORTH IT. I am traumatized. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to eat calamari again. One of my favorite things is RUINED! Calamari is ruined people – can you even understand how that makes me feel?
I still have 5 squid in the freezer. Someone send smelling salts (or maybe rubber gloves or hand sanitizer or possibly that guy in the video who will clean the squid for me).