Last week, my colleague had told me that he was going fishing on Saturday night. Come Monday morning, he gave me a cooler full of five squid. He kept them on ice, and they were so fresh! They didn't smell fishy, which is a good sign for "fresh" seafood. I wanted to bring them home and do something crazy with them: use its ink for some pasta, or use the guts to make shiokara.
But I knew I had dinner plans that night, so I decided to make squid sashimi for lunch at work. Why not? Yeah, it's the office kitchen, and the knife/cutting board situation is a complete nightmare, but unlike regular fish, you do not need to make a big scene when cutting up squid.
Tell me this isn't totally wrong, this bulletin board in the background, filled with "State minimum wage" information bullcrap, which many of us don't even make. And yes, I do have my usual bow tie on. No, I don't have any meetings, but I just dress this way.
These were pretty messy, or I should say inky. When a squid is not so fresh, you can take the guts out easily, but when it's super fresh, I learned that it is very difficult to pull it all out.
So you first have to cut off the squid in half, and yank out the guts, which was totally stuck to the meat. Make sure to get rid of the cartilage bone. By the way, cleaning fish over newspaper is one of the things I learned to do in Japan. All mothers, for some reason, put the cutting board, a thick layer of newspaper, and fish on newspapers for cleaning. At the end of the process, you just roll up the newspaper with all the guts, and throw it away. (Now that newspapers are totally recyclable, I don't know what she uses, since she's a Recycle Nazi-- along with the rest of Japan).
This is totally Yamahomo style, a nice Rolex on one hand, and a crappy knife that doesn't cut anything in the other.
So you cut the meat through the center, yank the guts out, take the bone out, then clean it. You also take the thin skin off (the dark reddish outer layer). I wasn't sure what to do with the legs, eyes, and guts. It was too much to deal with the guts, so I sadly said goodbye to it, but I wanted to save the legs. I heard that the million of suction cups on the tentacles sometimes contain bacteria, so I lightly washed them and my coworker took them home to cook with.
So you cut up the legs up right below the eyes, then you "pop" the mouth out of the leg. This process is just like popping the biggest zit you ever had in your life. As gross as it looks, the satisfaction level is quite high.
And their eyes were very silver, a sign of freshness. I wondered if I could make nail polish out of their eyes, which was how sparkly they looked.
After you clean the outer layer, here is the nice sashimi grade squid.
We had so much left over, that I am now drying two squids up in my cubicle for tomorrow's lunch. Yep, I repeat, I am DRYING UP SQUID IN MY OFFICE CUBICLE. Before drying, I generously salted them, and I made sure it's mice proof by placing them on top of a two feet-tall vase that I keep, where there's no way the motherfuckers can climb up to. It might collect some dust, but I live in that hellhole every day, so there's no difference. I will bring my creme brulee torch tomorrow, and lightly burn them before eating.
Sometimes, our lunches are crazier than you can imagine. Our colleagues gave us looks of "OMG" or "WTF" or "I am jealous you are eating fresh squid." I politely ignored all of them. However my colleague "the Fisher" proudly kept telling everyone, "Yeah, I went to Rhode Island to fish for squid."