Squid, a Southern Calamari – hey how good are they!

They are very good eating. Fins are broad, as you can see in the picture, and extend full length of the mantle. These marine cephalopods have mottled purpley-brown skin with long, rounded side fins running almost the full length of their body, 8 shorter arms and 2 longer tentacles. Robert caught this one at Middle Ground off Cronulla in about 30 metres, a little unusual, he hooked it up on a reef fishing paternoster rig. They seem to gather near the seabed or gravel grounds during the day and spread out at night throughout the water.
To prepare for the table, clean whole Calamari by pulling firmly to separate head from tube. Cut below the eyes and keep the head for snapper or kingfish bait. Remove the soft bone and peel skin off by grasping side fins and peeling around the tube. Side fins can be peeled and used; arms and tentacles can also be washed and used. If cutting the squid into rings, wash inside to remove any remaining gut. Or cut tube open, lay out flat and wipe the inside clean with a clean cloth. Slice into strips, or score in a hatch pattern which is called ‘honeycombing’. It has a mild and subtle flavour. The flesh is translucent when raw and white when cooked.

So you can steam, poach, deep-fry, pan-fry, stir-fry, bake, braise, grill, barbecue or use as sashimi. But remember, calamari 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.

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