Squid (along with other cephalopods, such
as octopus and cuttlefish) is treated differently from most seafood
because it toughens as it cooks. Squid can be either cooked very briefly -
until just cooked through, or it will be tough - or long-cooked, stewed
past the point of toughening until it becomes tender again.
Short-cooking methods are the same as for
other seafood. Squid can be deep-fried, sautéed or stir-fried. It also
takes well to cooking as a quick stew. First sauté or stir-fry it in a
little oil or butter, then add a small amount of flavorful liquid such as
white wine. The liquid reduces into a light sauce during the minute or two
it takes to cook the squid through (This is technically called
short-braising). Be careful not to cook the squid more than one or two
minutes, or it will toughen.
Octopus and cuttlefish take longer to
cook than squid because they are thicker and tougher. Cuttlefish can be
stewed in the same way as squid, but cook it covered for thirty minutes
before uncovering, and then cook for forty-five minutes to one hour more.
Cook octopus as you would a beef daube.
Long-cooking or stewing (technically
called long-braising), squid takes forty-five minutes to an hour. The
squid is cooked with aromatic vegetables and liquid to cover. Red wine is
one of the best liquids to use for stewing squid, octopus, and cuttlefish
because its full body and flavor match their flavor. Most stews are cooked
covered, but squid, because it releases a lot of liquid and cooks
relatively quickly, is cooked uncovered so that the stewing liquid reduces
and concentrates while the squid is braising.
Squid is usually first separated into
bodies, sometimes called hoods, and tentacles. The bodies are sliced into
rings before cooking.
Stewed with Red Wine
Any liquid can be used to stew squid, but
here, we will use red wine and chopped tomatoes.
1. Prepare a flavor base by gently stirring chopped
shallots and garlic or other aromatic vegetables in a small amount
of olive oil over medium heat until the vegetables lightly
caramelize, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the squid and enough liquid with the seeded and
chopped tomatoes to come halfway up the sides of the squid.
Add a bouquet garni and pour over enough red wine to cover the
Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring from time to time, until the
squid is tender and only a small amount of liquid remains in the
bottom of the pan. 45 minutes to an hour.