Ingredient of the week: squid

It’s an odd concept to think of sea dwellers as seasonal, but as with things above sea level, seasons affect things beneath the surface too.

Squid are in season – the tasty cephalopods we tuck into in their guise as calamari in Italy are eating across a large part of the globe due to their profusion (and the fact they taste absolutely delicious).

The facts around squid are many and fiction even greater – there are both large and colossal squid found (rarely) that measure often 10 metres in length. The varieties we tuck into are, thankfully, less monstrous.

The entire beasties can be eaten save the beak and the pen. The ink is used to colour dishes such as ‘squid with its own ink’ or a stunningly raven-coloured risotto. The tentacles and body are more often than not cooked quickly, steamed, fried, grilled or deep-fried. Sometimes the body is stuffed – in Spain often with a delicious black pudding called morcilla – indeed, black pudding is a common partner for squid.

The cephalopods should be either cooked very quickly or very slowly; anywhere in between leaves a tough, chewy result.

They are at their peak when simply grilled over scorching wood or coals with a generous squeeze of lemon in a Greek taverna overlooking the Aegean sea; or Thai-style, poached incredibly quickly in a salad dressing/broth number flavoured with the Thai staples of coriander, lemongrass, chilli, galangal, sugar and lime juice.