It can be intimidating to opt for whole, fresh squid instead the clean-cut rings in the freezer aisle, but preparing them fresh is surprisingly simple with these few tricks:

  • You can separate the top fins and the purplish membrane from the squid with just a gloved hand.
  • Squid have a hard, transparent, almost plastic-like spine that can be easily pulled out from the top.
  • Digging carefully with your fingers into the top of the squid, you can pull out its guts and remove its tentacles. Although it’s not dangerous, be wary of bursting the ink sac. They can be discarded or saved to make jet-black pastas or sauces.
  • You should cut the tentacles away just below the eyes, discarding the rest. The hard beak at the center of the tentacles is the last thing to remove, and it can be pushed out easily with your hands. Remove any sticky residue with a final rinse in cold water.
  • Cut the tops into rings, and bread and deep fry for crispy calamari or try them sauteed with chorizo and artichokes.