Squid, like their cousins cuttlefish and octopus, are cephalopods (from the Greek: kephalos (head) and podos (foot)).
They’re what’s known as evolutionarily advanced organisms. Unlike the slugs they’re related to, they’ve evolved some of the best eyes on the planet, they also evolved jet propulsion, sucker covered arms, ink smokescreens and parrot-like beaks.
Luckily for us, they’re also delicious and breed like the clappers. In fact, there are more cephalopods in the sea, by weight, than there are fish.
Our squid are hand-jigged in Cornwall. Our fishermen use glowing rubber lures on handlines at night. Once a squid is tricked by a lure, it wraps it’s arms around it and starts trying to eat it. The lure is smoothly pulled back up to the surface where the squid is hoiked into the boat.
Handlining is one of the most selective ways of fishing there is. It’s rare you catch something you’re not after (especially when using a hookless squid jig) and there’s not damage to the seabed.
Our guys in the Channel occasionally get some squid in their static nets and occasionally when drift-netting, but never in particularly large numbers it seems. Loligo squid are plentiful in Cornish waters in the autumnal months.
Prepping squid is easy, pull off the head and arms, remove the quill and rinse the guts from the mantle. Then peel off the dark skin.
The mantle can then be stuffed, sliced into rings or (our favourite) cut lengthwise and scored. By scoring the squid in this way, the heat from cooking can penetrate the flesh much more efficiently and evenly.
Squid requires a high heat and quick cooking. There’s a 20 second window were squid flesh turns from deliciously yielding, to disgustingly rubbery. We’ve all had rubbery squid in a cheap cafe in the Med, it’s a waste of an amazing animal.
(Click to enlarge)