Know Your Molluscs
Most people will think that calamari and squid are the same thing. Or that once squid is cooked, it becomes calamari, so believed in some places. Or that calamari is just the Italian term for squid. They look quite the same anyway. Well, not at all. They are two different species and hence, not the same. And for that matter, even cuttlefish. The three are closely related cephalopod molluscs found in virtually all of the world’s oceans.
You can tell squid from calamari by the fins that form an arrow shape on the end of the hood. Squids have fins, but these run only for a short distance on the sides of the body. The fins of calamari extend almost all the way down the hood. Squid is generally from Nototodarus gouldi, also known as Gould’s squid, calamari from the genus Sepioteuthis, sepa referring to ink. Squid is generally larger in size than calamari.
At the table, squid is tougher, calamari is more tender. There’s also a price difference between them – about $10 per kilo – calamari being more expensive. You can make squid as tender as the flesh of calamari by marinating it or slow cooking the squid. Because of its tenderer flesh calamari cooks sooner and is tastier. It is best for frying, grilling, and stir frying dishes.
Squid is best for stuffing and stewing. Generally, cuttlefish is the most flavoursome of the three. With nearly all their parts edible, the cooking rules for all three are the same – either short cooking time on high heat or long slow cook on low heat. Anything done in between will result in a tough dish.
In Japan, squid is used in almost every type of dish – sushi, sashimi, tempura, stewed (nabemono’), and grilled (”ikayaki). it is best to eat it as sushi (nigiri way), and can be also sautéed or simmered with vinegar.
Enjoying Molluscs in Bellevue
Over at Flo, your Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, we serve delectable hot or cold specialties of your three favorite mollusks. Try our sunomono salad with squid, sashimi squid, sushi, and our crunchy calamari tempura. You can also ask us to have any of them prepared the way you want it – for a more enjoyable dining experience.