If you love squid chances are you'll love cuttlefish too. In fact, not only are cuttlefish equally delicious and nutritious, but they're also a cheaper alternative. What's more the "chameleon of the sea" can also easily be substituted into most squid recipes without anyone spotting the difference!
What is Cuttlefish?
Cuttlefish is not a fish, but a marine mollusc related to the squid and the octopus. It is a relatively intelligent creature due to its brain-to-body-ration and is widely distributed across the world. As far as flavour goes, the cuttlefish sits somewhere between the squid and the octopus, not as mild as the former and more subtle than the latter. As with other cephalopods like squid and octopus, cuttlefish should be cooked either quickly or very slowly or simply eaten raw and at their freshest to enjoy the flavour of the sweet flesh.
What Does a Cuttlefish Look Like?
The cuttlefish is similar to a squid with a large head and eyes and beak. It has eight tentacles and another two on the mouth. It comes in a wide range of colours and patterns but is usually dark brown or grey with spots or stripes. The cuttlefish is very popular in European cuisine, especially Spanish and Italian where it is grilled or pan-fried and often served in pasta or risotto,
How to Cook cuttlefish:
First things first, if you're buying fresh cuttlefish you'll need to know how to clean them before cooking.
Here's a nice informative video explaining how to prepare cuttlefish. And remember to retain the flavoursome black liquid to use in squid ink dishes later!
Whether you choose to enjoy the freshness of locally caught cuttlefish in sashimi or try flash frying them in the pan there are many ways to experiment with this versatile ingredient.
If you're lucky enough to get a really fresh cuttlefish try using it raw in a fresh sashimi recipe like this one where you can simply replace the squid with cuttlefish. Remember to make it the day before as it takes 12 hours to marinate.
If you prefer you cuttlefish cooked, here's an Italian recipe that pairs squid with plump borlotti beans, that makes a delicious mid week dinner dish in a jiffy.
Cuttlefish is a delicious and easy to prepare seafood ingredient that can substitue in any squid or octopus reipe. As will all seafood, the fresher the better, and the fresher it is, the less cooking and preperation you need to do. Get you hands on cuttlefish as soon as they reach your fresh fish market in the morning andd you can eat them raw, washed down with a glass of white wine or a peroni beer.