Catching, Preparing and Cooking Squid

I love eating squid, but only when it’s spankingly fresh!

In Cornwall this year we’ve been very lucky with the season starting in October and lasting well into the New Year.

Catching squid is fairly easy when there’s squid in the bay, you only need some basic tackle.

Although it is possible to catch squid from the shore, it’s more reliable to catch them from a boat even though the marks that we fish are just a few hundred yards off shore.

I’m lucky enough to have access to several boats in addition to our own, if you’re in Cornwall then I recommend Anglo Dawn in Falmouth.

Andy (Skipper of Anglo Dawn) with a brace of squid

If you’re onboard a charter boat then the skipper will tell you everything you need to know.

I use my small slow pitch jigging rod and a fancy reel but you can fish with the cheapest of rods and reels.

The tackle couldn’t be more simple, just a 3oz weight on the bottom and two or three squid jigs (the cheap ones from Trago do the job). I prefer to use very small pink jigs that I get when on holiday in France and Italy, you can get them over there in most tackle shops and from Decathlon.

Some people like the ones with built in flashing LEDs and if the water is a bit murky then tie on a starlite, whatever you do you don’t need any expensive gear to catch fish.

The technique is also simple, drop the gear to the bottom, wind up a few turns and then put the rod in the rest and let it fish itself, you’ll soon know when you’ve got a squid on as the rod tip will pull down and throb, pick up the rod, reel in the squid slowly and net them with a landing net, just watch out for a squirt of ink!

Pop the squid in a bucket and get your gear back down there as when they’re biting things can go crazy.

Cleaning and preparing is very easy, once you’re home, pop them in the sink and reach up into the mantle and pull all the guts and tentacles out

You’ll find a quill down one side, pull that out and discard

Cut off the tentacles just below the eyes and make sure you remove the beak.

I like to take the out skin off the main body and one side of the wings.

Cut the squid up into rings or strips and separate the tentacles into twos or threes.

Give everything a good wrinse and then pop all the squid into a large polythene bag, add some plain flour, plenty of black or szechuan pepper and a good handful of sea salt.

Close the bag and give it a good shake so that all the squid is coated, leave it to rest for 20 minutes or so, this gives the flour time to go a bit soggy.

Fill a pan with extra virgin olive oil to about 1-2 inches deep and heat until just before the oil starts to smoke.

Put the squid in in batches and fry both sides for just a minute or so, then remove and put on kitchen towel whilst you do the rest.

If the squids are a bit on the large size, score each side with a knife, it doesn’t matter if you accidentally cut through. This will make the squid less chewy.

Shallow fried salt and pepper squid with roast potatoes and salad


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