Squid and calamari have always been a little confusing to me. Some sites will tell you that calamari is a type of squid, while in Italy, chefs say that calamari is just the preparation style of squid and even more say to the are totally different species.

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What is squid?

Here I use the larger category of squid because I feel like regardless of what camp you are in, we can all agree that calamari is a type of squid.

The name calamari is Italian for squid, so it makes sense. In other countries, you’ll simply see the same dishes labeled squid.

What is squid used for?

Most familiar is the famed calamari fritti, or fried calamari rings. Dunked in a batter or crusted with bread crumbs, they are lightly fried. Fried artichokes, bell peppers and spicy peppers are sometimes fried and served with them along with a variety of aioli dipping sauces, marinara or even chimichurri.

You will also see squid ink used to dye risotto and pasta, along with other fancy dishes. It has virtually no taste (maybe a little salty) but creates a strikingly black color.

Squid is also common in risottos, paella and pasta dishes. Greek cuisine like to char grill it and serve with lemon and freshly ground pepper.

Rings and smallish tentacles are the most commonly, but sometimes you’ll see the whole small squid get grilled or it will be in strips, albeit they shrivel up while cooking.

How to Cook Squid

Nearly all squid is best cooked hot and fast. If left too long, it will get rubbery and potentially dry and tough to chew. Grilling, broiling, sautéing and deep-frying are your best bets.

It can also be eaten raw, so as long as it was handled correctly, you don’t need to be as concerned about under cooking it as you should be about over cooking it.

Storage & Freezing

Like most seafood, squid is best fresh, but can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

It also freezes well for up to 6 months. Pack it tightly with little air. If crystals develop then it is starting to freezer burn.

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