My ideal fishing trip sees me catching a few squid for dinner. Unfortunately I am terrible at catching squid 🙂 . Occasionally I get lucky but mostly resort to bartering a few table fish for them with my mates.
I want to share some of the tips I have picked up thanks to my mates and also a bit of experimenting in the kitchen.
On the boat
We all want to avoid being covered in black goupy squid ink when retrieving squid into the boat. Let the squid have a few squirts in the water whilst still on the jig. If you have a net, scoop it under the squid and let the net contain the ink squirts. Once they have calmed down a bit bring them on board.
I was recently given two tips that not only stop the squid from inking the inside of your eski (and the rest of your catch) but also treat the squid humanely.
Tip 1 – Take a knife and spear the squid behind each eye. This will instantly kill them and you know you have done it right when the squid completely turns white. Here is some more information on the technique https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikejime.
Here is a video of it being done on a subsequent fishing trip:
Tip 2 – Pop any squid you have caught in a plastic bag before adding them to the eski. I reuse the plastic bag on several fishing trips, cleaning them after each use.
My friends have been testing the use of scaling bags, towed behind the boat at slow speeds, to clean their squid catch. These pictures were taken after only a few minutes using the bag and the results are even better if you leave it out longer. You can see the hoods are nice and clean and the skin and wings have been removed.
My brother in law has also given me a few tips for cleaning squid the old fashion way.
Tip 1 – Work your thumb into the hood and work the cuttlebone (it runs the length of the hood) loose with your thumb until the whole lot comes out in one piece. This way you won’t (hopefully) break the ink sac when you pull the head and tentacles out of the hood.
Tip 2 – If there is some ink stains and like me you want nice clean squid rings, don’t bother trying to fight the whole hood. Nor do you have to attempt the near impossible task of turning it inside out to clean it. Simply cut the hood into several pieces, each as long as your thumb. This makes them easier to clean under the tap but still allows you to make nice thin rings later.
I pop the head, tentacles and wings into a snap-lock bag. Now frozen, they are ready for the next fishing trip as bait or berley/chum.
Tip 3 – I also freeze the rings before I cook with them as I have it on good authority that this will help make them tender due to the freezing process breaking down the fibers.
Once coated in an egg batter and Panko breadcrumbs (or a salt, pepper and flour dry coating) they will shallow fry quickly for that melt in your mouth texture.