3 August 2016

In The Kitchen: Cuttlefish Salad

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

What you'll need (serves 2):
  • 1 medium cuttlefish
  • 1 red chili
  • 1 medium courgette
  • 3 spring onions
  • Salad leaves
  • Wasabi paste
  • Soy sauce
  • Tesco tempura batter mix
  • Ponzu dipping sauce
  • 1 lime

I was in Tesco the other day when I stumbled upon the reduced section from the fish monger. Now, I know how people feel about reduced fish and seafood however I can tell you that it’s absolutely fine and actually usually has one extra day for Best Before. I picked up some lemon sole fillets when I saw that there was a cuttlefish on offer and I have seen cuttlefish on their fishmonger iced table before which got me very intrigued. I thought cuttlefish was just a very aesthetically unpleasant fish but it’s not – it’s actually a cephalopod which is the same family as octopus and squid. Bonus! I love them. I always thought they were very rare and very expensive but actually if you know where to look for them, you’ll get them for a bargain.

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

This cuttlefish came whole. I have never tried to prepare my own fish, let alone a cephalopod. I googled instruction and here is how to prepare a cuttlefish in a nutshell:
  1. Remove head, guts, arms and tentacles from the body 
  2. Wash the tube, which will be empty except for a mucous membrane and transparent "pen" 
  3. Pull the skin off the tube and fins 
  4. Remove the ink sac 
  5. Cut the tentacles and arms from the head 
Simples, right? ERRRR try again. Trying to prepare cuttlefish is the messiest, stickiest and slimiest experience ever if you aren’t a pro. The ink went everywhere, even though I’m not squeamish its guts did not make me feel good and the stench made me gag. The good news is I did it and I know how to prep a cephalopod now so if I’m ever stranded on an island with nothing but cuttlefish, I can survive.

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

Once I had my prepped cuttlefish, I cut it into rough strips and little tentacles. These take minutes to cook, or hours depending on what you make. From what I learned if you cook them on a high heat for a short time, like stir frying or deep frying, or for a very long time, like in a stew, then the meat will stay soft and won’t be tough or chewy.

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

Coat the pieces of cuttlefish in your premade batter mix and get the deep fryer on the go. I actually don’t have a deep fryer so I used a deep pan to fill with vegetable oil and heated it on the stove – kind of dangerous so please be careful if you are going to be doing this!!
The pieces take minutes to cook – mine cooked in about 3-4 minutes and were tender and delicious. Whilst your batches are making, you can prep your salad.
Take the courgette and spiralizer it to make noodles – you will need a spiralizer, alternatively you can make thin strips using a carrot peeler. Plate these up and make a well where you can put your salad mixed with spring onion and chili. By this point your cuttlefish will be ready so place these strips on the top of the salad.
Then, make a dressing of soy sauce, a bit of Ponzu, lime and a little bit of olive oil if you fancy – this can be poured on top of the cuttlefish.

Garnish the dish with chillies and coriander if you like and serve immediately! 

How to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipeHow to cook cuttlefish, Cuttlefish salad recipe

I was worried about cooking cuttlefish and eating it too – I’ve had calamari in restaurants but the chefs know what they’re doing! Well I’m happy to say I do to because the salad was delicious and no dodgy stomachs occurred so it’s a success.

The combination of tender cuttlefish, spicy chili and zesty lemon is just a fusion of flavour and perfect for a summer eve dinner. 

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