This is an easy process, but if you don’t know what to do, it might be a little bit daunting. Relax. It’s quick and easy.
Here is a picture of two medium-sized whole squid bought from the market. As with all fish or seafood, give it a good sniff first and don’t buy it if there’s any hint of a fishy smell.
Gently pull the head away from the body, and if you’re lucky you’ll pull out the milky-white intestines along with it. Otherwise you’ll have to wash them out, or if you’re opening up the squid (like I did) you can scrape them off. You’ll also find a “quill”, which looks like a long, transparent plastic knife. Cut off and keep the tentacles, and discard the head, intestines and quill.
Keeping the squid “out” side up, cut off the fins. Now pull off and discard the purplish skin. The easiest way I’ve found to achieve this is to get hold of it by the edge between my thumbnail and index finger and pull – it comes off quite easily. Do this for the fins as well. You can see in the picture that I have skinned and scored one of my squid, so let’s look at the scoring part of the operation next.
Now turn the squid “in” side up and score it diagonally to make a criss-cross pattern – this is to give the squid its attractive texture and curled-up appearance when it’s stir-fried. At this stage do not cut all the way through the squid!
Having scored your criss-cross pattern, now you can cut the piece of squid into strips ready for cooking.
Once you’ve cleaned your squid you don’t necessarily have to cut it into strips, of course – you can also have stuffed squid hoods or squid rings. We’ll maybe look at those prepping methods another day.