Have you come across calamari on a restaurant menu? If so, you may be wondering what this dish refers to. Made from squid, calamari is a delicious dish that is ideal for people that love seafood. What is calamari?
This guide will tell you everything you need to know about this food, including its taste and how it is cooked.
What Is Calamari?
“Calamari” is simply an Italian word that translates to “squid”. Many people assume that this dish refers to the meat of an octopus, but this is a popular misconception.
In restaurants, calamari will appear on menus. In this case, calamari will refer to a dish of deep-fried squid that is commonly served as an appetizer. This appetizer is commonly found in Italian restaurants.
Calamari is widely eaten across the globe. However, this dish is especially popular in Asian countries, such as Thailand, China, Japan, and Korea. In fact, Japan is one of the largest consumers of squid in the world.
Squid is commonly found in the ocean, hence it can be sourced throughout the world. Though not all types of squid are suitable for eating, many species are edible. This includes the Atlantic squid. The rings of the squid are the most popular part of this sea creature.
What Does Calamari Taste Like?
The taste of calamari is mild, especially when compared to other forms of seafood. Not only is it milder than octopus meat, but the meat of a squid is also significantly thinner. It has a slightly sweet taste with a somewhat nutty hint.
Though the taste of calamari is mild, squid will absorb other flavors brilliantly. This makes it an ideal meat for cooking, as its taste can easily be enhanced with sauce. Calamari works wonderfully when dipped into a sauce.
It’s important to use flavoring when cooking squid to ensure that it does not become bland.
The texture of calamari is firm and chewy. Calamari can also develop a rubbery texture, though it is best to avoid making this seafood too rubbery.
Is Calamari Healthy?
Yes, calamari is quite healthy. This meat is especially high in protein, making it a good option for people who are attempting to build muscle. Three ounces of calamari will contain approximately 15 ounces of protein. Despite being high in protein, squid meat is also low in calories.
Calamari can also be a decent source of iron, calcium, and B vitamins.
How Can You Cook Calamari?
If you have limited experience with calamari, it can be difficult to prepare this meat. It is essential to marinade the meat to give it more flavor and to provide a more tender texture.
Before cooking the calamari, you must clean this meat. This can be an incredibly messy process. You will need to remove the quill and beak before cooking squid meat, as these parts are inedible.
Frying is one of the most popular ways of cooking calamari. However, this meat can also be deep-fried to create a dish that is hard to resist.
There are several different dishes that you can cook using calamari, including:
- Fried calamari/ calamari fritti
- Calamari paella
- Calamari risotto
- Sauteed calamari
- Calamari stew
With calamari, you can cook an impressive range of dishes. Calamari pairs nicely with potato salad, coleslaw, rice, and fries. Be sure to serve your calamari with lots of different sauces, including tartar sauce or garlic and lemon mayonnaise.
These sauces will help you to make this squid meat more flavorsome, as it can taste quite bland.
Where Can You Buy Calamari?
Calamari will not be sold in the average supermarket or grocery store. Instead, it is usually found at most seafood markets. Often, you will find calamari that has already been sliced.
Many fishmongers will offer to clean the calamari for you, which is a great benefit if you have never cooked with calamari before.
After purchasing the calamari, you must store it properly. Fresh calamari should be stored in the refrigerator. There, it can last for approximately 3 days before expiring.
Yet, it is best to consume this meat as quickly as possible, as the calamari will stay super fresh.
To extend the shelf life of your calamari, you should consider freezing it. Unlike other types of seafood, calamari can handle being frozen quite well. When kept in a freezer bag, calamari can be kept frozen for a few months.
After this, it will start to expire and the quality will deteriorate. It’s best to include a label with the date when freezing the meat.
Calamari Vs Octopus Meat
Octopus and squid meat are often mixed up. One of the easiest ways to differentiate between these two types of meat is that squid will be served in the form of rings.
Another key difference between them is the texture of squid and octopus. Often, an octopus has a tougher texture than squid, which is a tender meat. However, squid will better absorb the flavors of sauce and herbs than octopus meat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Before eating calamari, you must remove the quill, guts, and beak from the squid. The rest of the squid meat will be edible, including the tentacles.
Even squid ink is edible and it is often added as flavoring to a range of different dishes.
Yes, calamari can be rather expensive. The high cost of this meat may be due to the luxurious reputation that this dish has.
No, calamari does not have an overly fishy taste. Despite being a type of seafood, this dish has a sweeter taste than most other seafood dishes.
Calamari is a seafood dish that has developed a reputation for being rather fancy. Simply referring to squid meat, calamari is not as fancy as it first seems.
If you have never tried calamari before, it’s worth giving it a taste. It has a great taste and is surprisingly versatile. Not to mention, it is quite simple to make. So why not give calamari a shot?!
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