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Squid--It Only Takes Two Hands to Fix 'Em

October 11, 1990|JOAN DRAKE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

For those unfamiliar with squid, the first experience of tackling the cleaning of these mollusks with eight legs and two tentacles protruding from the head can be intimidating. Actually it's a very simple task.

Thaw the squid if frozen. Rinse well under cold running water and drain on paper towels.

Gently pull apart the head and mantle, or body tube (Step 1). Set the mantle section aside.

Cut the tentacles off just in front of the eyes (Step 2) so they remain in a ring. Discard the eyes and attached material.

The hard beak is often still attached to the tentacles. To remove it, squeeze the thick center part near the cut end, pushing the beak out (Step 3). Discard the beak, rinse the tentacles and again drain on paper towels.

Returning to the tube section, reach inside and pull out the long, clear quill (Step 4); discard. Beginning at the uncut end, squeeze the tube between your thumb and forefinger to remove the entrails (Step 5).

Peel off and discard the speckled skin with your fingers (Step 6). Rinse the mantles inside and out and drain again on paper towels.

Frying is one of the easiest ways to prepare squid. Slice the mantles crosswise into 1/4-inch rings (Step 7). Dredge the tentacles and rings in flour, dip into beaten egg and then dust with fresh breadcrumbs. Deep-fat fry until golden brown. Serve warm with lemon wedges.

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