I first tried fresh squid when working at Elements in Lyall Bay and have never looked back. If you have only tried the pre-frozen tube variety then you don’t know what you are missing. Once chemically tenderized, frozen and then defrosted there is virtually no flavour left and I don’t even bother these days. Whole fresh squid seems to be gaining a little bit of popularity and should be prepared simply. One of my favorite ways is to salt n pepper fry it with some sticky soy sauce; it was the first way I ever tried squid and is still one of my favorites. The other is to sear and lightly cook in a hot pan with some chilli and garlic and tossed with some freshly squeezed lime and picked coriander.
To prepare the squid
Cut the squid down the length of the tube and remove all the insides. Cut off the tentacles and throw out the offal and beak (or save for an awesome burly next time you’re fishing!). Cut the suckers off the tentacles and you are ready to go.
Chilli Garlic Squid with Lime and Coriander
500g whole fresh squid
5 cloves garlic
3 whole red chilli
1/2 bunch fresh coriander
20ml Light olive oil
Flakey sea salt
Vegetable oil (for cooking)
Slice the squid into strips.
If you feel it needs tenderizing you can marinate in some plain milk overnight however I think it is usually unnecessary if you cook the squid lightly; it should have a little bit of 'bite' anyway.
Finely slice the garlic and the chilli (leave the seeds in unless you really don't like a bit of kick) and roughly pick the coriander leaves; a few bits of stalk are fine.
Get your fry pan as hot as you can (it should be pretty much smoking) then off the heat (just in case) add a little bit of cooking oil and then the squid and return to the heat.
Make sure your pan is big enough to easily hold twice the amount of squid you are cooking.
The trick with squid and a lot of seafood is to cook it quickly on a high heat, if your pan is too small or you add too much squid at once the temperate of the pan drops and you won't be searing but will be stewing! In which case you will get no colour and all the water (and flavour) will come out of the squid and make it tough.
Cook your squid for about 20 seconds then throw in the sliced chilli and garlic and cook for another 20 seconds.
Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
Squeeze in your lime juice, add the olive oil and season with flaky sea salt (I don't like using pepper with seafood).
What you are doing here is effectively making a rough and ready vinaigrette out of the lime juice, squid cooking juices, olive oil and the aromatics.
Add the picked coriander and toss all together.
Divide among 4 plates and serve with some crusty bread to soak up the juices if you so desire. Can garnish with some reserved coriander.
MacLean Fraser http://macleanfraser.com/