This week, I decided to cook with squid. This is because I am off my nut.
Squid is delicious. It is also inexpensive, at least in Korea, coming in at about $2 apiece at our local E-Mart. Unlike many sea creatures in this country, they’re dead when you buy them. What could be better than that?
Oh, did I mention they come fully intact?
For those of you playing at home, here’s what to do:
Squid Stir Fry
You will need…
Some diced onion, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, and black pepper.
Step 1: Meet Your Squid
Mine came in a handy-two pack.
Cook’s Tip: Use a cookie sheet with low sides instead of a cutting board to clean your squid. This might get messy.
Step 2: Drink Soju:
Oh, it’s not for the dish. It’s for you. You’ll need it. That squid is going stare at you throughout the entire process. Did you know squid have blue eyes? And you’re about to disembowel one while it gazes up beseechingly. You’re a monster.
Step 3: Gut Your Squid:
Squid come in two parts—the head/tentacle/intestine section and the smooth exterior cap that covers the organs. You have to separate them. Isn’t that great?
The organ sack is connected to the cap by some tendons. According to the cooking literature I consulted, you simply have to twist your finger around the inside of the cap and the tendons will break. You can then pull out the head and the organs will come with it. Before you do this, it is probably a good idea to:
Step 4: Drink More Soju
To the cynical among you, it will come as no surprise when the tendons do not break. What can you do? No, not hide in the bathroom.
Step 5: Grab a Knife
It is difficult to saw apart an interior tendon on a dead, purple slimey thing you don’t want to touch. Persevere. Eventually you will…
Step 6: Puncture the Intestines
Brown sludge will squeeze out of the squid like it’s a full tube of toothpaste. The tendon will refuse to budge. It’s time to…
Step 7: Get a Bigger Knife
Cook’s Tip: Your husband will decline to enter the kitchen from this point onward, though he will make reassuring noises as you cry.
If you slit the body cap down one side, you will gain access to allllll those interior organs, but also a better leverage point for severing the tendons. A serrated knife would probably be helpful if you have one. If you don’t just stab it repeatedly. This will eventually work.
Once the tendon is cut, pull out the organs. Also, remove the spine, which will look like a long, plastic zip tie embedded in the fleshy bits. Cut the tentacles off the head and remove the beak. Discard the beak, head, and guts. Wash the cap and tentacles. Thoroughly.
Step 8: Skin Your Squid
Cut the cap completely open so you can lay it flat. Scrape the surface with a knife blade and then peel off the purple skin. This will take approximately three hours. You will need to top off your soju level.
Cook’s Tip: Don’t skin the tentacles. You’re going to eat them suction cups and all, you lucky dog.
Step 9: Cook Your Squid
Cut the cap and tentacles into bite-sized pieces and toss them in a frying pan with a little oil, a small chopped onion, and a clove of minced garlic. Stir-fry until the squid turns pink and looks kind of like little pieces of soap.
In a small cup, mix together a tablespoon of soy sauce, a teaspoon of sesame oil, a big pinch of sugar, and a dash of black pepper. Remove the frying pan from the heat and stir in the sauce mixture.
That’s it! You’re finished! Ladle it over some rice and bring it to the table. Your husband will love it. He’ll say it’s delicious. He’ll ask why you’re not eating—are you ok? Is something wrong?
You look at your plate, and see a vision of dead, blue, frosted eyes staring up at you.
Fortunately, the pizza joint around the corner is still open.