Today we’re diving into the world of calamari. Whether you’re planning to make calamari rings, a seafood platter, or stuffed calamari, the first step is learning how to properly clean this versatile ingredient. So, let’s get started!
Identifying Fresh Calamari
First things first, let’s talk about what fresh calamari looks like. Fresh calamari have wings on the upper part of their bodies. Unlike cuttlefish, which have a much larger head and a smaller body, calamari have a more balanced proportion between the head and body.
Cleaning the Tube
- Removing the Innards: Start by reaching inside the tube and pulling out all the innards. Place these aside if you plan to use them; otherwise, discard them.
- Extracting the Bone: Calamari have a cartilage-like bone inside the tube. Simply grab it and pull it out. If it breaks, don’t worry—just push it down and pull it out in pieces.
Peeling the Skin
Calamari skin is relatively easy to peel off. If you’re having trouble getting an edge, use a sharp knife to make a small incision, and then peel the skin away.
Handling the Tentacles
- Removing the Ink Sac: Locate the ink sac, which the calamari use for defense. Carefully remove it to avoid making a mess.
- Extracting the Beak: The calamari’s mouth part, or beak, is located just above the tentacles. Push underneath its eyes to pop the beak out.
- Removing the Eyes: If you prefer not to have eyes in your dish, simply cut them out.
- Skinning the Tentacles: Just like the body, the tentacles can be skinned. Use your fingers or a knife to peel the skin away.
Once everything is cleaned, give the calamari a good rinse. At this point, you can either cut them into rings or leave them whole, depending on your recipe. If you’ve removed the wings, you can chop them up and use them as part of a stuffing or include them in a seafood dish.
The Importance of Connection
Cooking is more than just a mechanical process; it’s a passionate love affair between you and the food. Treat your ingredients with respect and care, and the end result will be a dish full of love and incredible flavors.
And there you have it—a comprehensive guide on how to clean calamari.