Do you know how to clean squid the right way? Here is how to clean squid in 10 simple steps! It is really not that difficult at all. Once you know how it works, you will never forget it anymore. Here we go!
Do you like fresh squid?
Or do these slimy buggers scare you off so much that you just don’t want to touch them? I agree, they can look kind of creepy. And mean with those eyes that seem to follow your every move.
But thank god, they are also highly delicious to cook with!
Do you have a good fishmonger?
Then he or she will certainly know how to clean a squid. Pretty sure that they will clean that squid for you if you really don’t feel like doing it yourself. Asking is free. Maybe the squid on offer has already been cleaned to make it even easier for you.
Or you could give it a try anyway and use my handy step by step picture guide below to do it! I like to get my hands dirty in the kitchen and clean seafood from scratch.
Believe it or not, in some kind of way I find it rather relaxing.
Easy To Do
Or am I just weird?
At least that is what I think, that it is relaxing. And don’t let those scary looking eyes put you off. You might get the feeling that they are following you everywhere in your kitchen.
So let’s get to work!
How To Clean Squid
You can decide to leave the thin skin on the squid or not.
Some restaurants here in Spain don’t bother to put that extra effort and time in it and also serve them like that. With the skins still attached. But I don’t mind. Apart from the visual effect there is no flavor difference.
It is not that they don’t know how to clean squid properly, it is just less work.
Squid comes in quite a few sizes. It can go from tiny to huge.
People usually don’t clean the tiny baby ones (we call them chopitos in Spanish) because they are way too tiny. You wouldn’t have anything left anymore after cleaning them. And that is why they are quite often dipped in a light batter and then deep fried.
Any crunchy bits inside will instantly crisp up and you will not be able to tell the difference.
Larger squid are also great to cook with.
Once they are cleaned, you can stuff the bodies and oven bake, grill or barbecue them. Take a look at my stuffed squid recipe with boiled eggs and mojo verde for a second!
Are you looking for more squid recipe inspiration on my website here?
Then you should also check out my squid ink spaghetti with squid! Or do you prefer the mediterranean pasta version with tomatoes and squid?
And how about my flat beans with squid!
Are you ready to see how to clean squid the right way?
It is really not that difficult at all. Once you know how it works, you will see how easy it is and you will never forget it anymore.
Here is how to clean squid!
Let’s get cracking.
How To Clean Squid: Easy Step By Step
Here's how to clean squid in 10 simple steps! It’s really not that difficult at all. Once you know how it works, you will never forget it anymore. Here we go!
- 1 fresh baby squid
- patience 🙂
Place the squid on a clean chopping board.
Hold the body in the palm of one hand and grab the squid head with the fingers of your other hand right above the eyes. Now pull gently until both parts detach from each other. With the head will come some slimy looking white gunk.
Somewhere attached to that is the ink sack. The ink in baby squid is not enough for other dishes, so throw it out. Large squid contain much more ink.
Then sever the tentacles from the head. Therefore slice right underneath the eyes of the squid. Try the keep the tentacles in one piece.
You will probably feel or hear something crunch a little. See that little black thing protruding from the in between the eyes? That’s the beak, the squid’s mouth. Make sure there’s none of that left on the tentacle side. Then throw away the part with the eyes and white gunk (or keep it as bait if you like fishing).
Place your thumb gently on one end of the body between the 2 little fins. Then with your other hand search for the quill, the little plastic thing inside of the squid. Then pull it out gently.
It can be quite large and is transparent. Discard it. Remove any whitish slime that is still inside.
Pull or gently squeeze if out. Discard it.
Now peel the skin off. This is quite easy. With your finger nails pinch the skin and see if it tears loose. Then pull the skin towards the back of the body. Also remove the skin on the fins.
The squid meat underneath should be whitish to lightly yellow. Discard the skin. Rinse the cleaned squid inside and outside. Done!
Now you know how to clean squid for grilling and calamari!
Can you come up with a couple of squid recipes?
Of course lots of people will say calamari. You know, those battered and deep fried squid rings. And those are absolutely delicious, I love them to bits. If you cook them properly of course.
Many times I have tasted calamari that were rock hard or rubbery. Squid hardly needs time to cook because it is so delicate and thin.
Also the batter is important. I like my calamari light and crisp, more like tempura.
Many times I have eaten fried calamari that consisted of more batter than squid. Which makes me think that those are frozen.
Like I already mentioned above, stuffed squid is also a popular dish.
Especially for lunch, with a salad on the side. The stuffing can contain just anything. From bread, rice and vegetables, to ground pork meat and boiled eggs.
It is a delicacy if again, the squid is cooked perfectly!
Every time that I think of fresh squid, I have to think of Brussels.
I must have been 14 or 15 years. Every Sunday there is this exotic farmers market around the Brussels Midi South railway station. And one Sunday morning my mom, oldest sister and me decided to go.
It is a 90 minute train ride between my hometown and Brussels.
But I didn’t mind, because it was worth the trip.
That exotic farmers market was so impressive and so very different from our local farmers market back home. The food, the fresh produce, ingredients… it was all mainly African.
I have always been drawn to foods that I don’t know.
Exotic Farmers Market
So on that particular day I stood at a fish and seafood stall, looking at the fresh squid. My mom saw how intrigued I was, and decided to buy one for me. The poor thing was so small that the stall owner didn’t even ask for money.
So here is me traveling back home with a fresh squid in my pocket.
Wondering what I would do with it. I didn’t know how to clean squid for calamari.
And in those days there was no internet to search for inspiration. Nor did we have cookbooks with squid recipes. So back home I decided to just wing it and pretend that I knew how to clean squid.
Long story short, I enjoyed pulling it apart.
My siblings would look over my shoulder and say ‘yuk’ and ‘gross’ every 10 seconds.
In the end there was very little squid left to cook. It was a tiny little creature after all. If I am not mistaken, I think that I pan fried it in a little olive oil.
Did I like it?
I think so because that first time of eating squid sure wasn’t the last.
I do remember being so glad that I knew now how to clean squid!