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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Mực Nướng (Grilled/Broiled Squid)

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My family has been taking advantage of the extended daylight to grill out in our backyard. The best thing about summer grilling is the endless creativity with how and what you can cook. Almost anything can go on the grill, from fruits to sticky rice, vegetables to seafood. Grilling brings out the natural inherent savory sweetness of the food.

One of the grilled or broiled seafood my family really enjoys is squid. This grilled or broiled squid is an enticing appetizer for anytime of the day. The smell of charred squid might be unpleasant for some, but for me, it's like inhaling a refreshing salty ocean breeze that's been marinated. The wonderful smoky scent waffling through my backyard readies my appetite for that delicious first bite.

Grilled squid sounds gourmet and it's inexpensive and surprisingly easy to prepare and cook. You can easily find squids at almost any Asian supermarket by the seafood section.

RECIPE: Grilled/Broiled Squid

1 large squid 
yakitori sauce
assorted chili pepper, nanami togarashi 
green onion, diced
a lemon, optional
olive oil

Preparing Squid

Regardless of how you like your squid cooked, it must be cleaned by removing the beak, eyes and interior organs. Cleaning the squid is not hard but can be very messy. If you are not  careful, the squid ink and gut can splat everywhere so do it over the sink.

Hold squid firmly between the eyes and body an pull the head and tentacles out of the body.  The guts will come along with the head. Sometimes, I find it easier to remove the guts and quills (look like a plastic strips) by sticking my hand inside the body and pulling everything out. It may seem gross at first but  it's just a squid. 

Cut the head from the tentacles by cutting beneath the eyes. Discard the eyes and head, keeping the tentacles.  Remove the beak from the tentacles by pinching it out from the center. Pat squid dry with a paper towel.

Squid ink is also used in foods to create a deep and rich flavor associated with unami, black color, and salty flavoring without any sodium. Some stores like William Sonoma or Amazon sell squid ink in a jar.  If you want to save the ink, there are 2 ink sacs: the main ink sac in the body attached above the head and is a silvery sack with black liquid inside; the other other smaller one is behind the eyes. Carefully detach the ink sac by slipping a knife underneath and cut away from the center and drain the ink into a bowl to use later. The shelf life of squid in the refrigerator is 1-2 days. You can extend this to 3-5 months in the freezer.

Squid ink is naturally high in glutamic acid, which means it can cause side effects in some people who are sensitive to other sources of glutamates, like MSG.
Broiling/Grilling Squid

Brush or spray the top rack of broiler pan with oil. Stack the rack on top of the bottom tray pan to catch drippings. Place squid on the rack. Brush squid with olive oil and place the squid tray in the oven on the top oven rack, broiling on high (500 degrees) for 5 minutes. Remove squid.

Brush squid with yakitori sauce and put it back in the oven and broil until charred and cooked, about 2 minutes. The reason I don't brush the yakitori sauce from the beginning of the broil process is to prevent the sauce from burning when being cooked for too long.

If you prefer grilling the squid, spray the grill press with oil.  Brush squid with oil and using a grill press, cook on high temperature, until charred about 6-8 minutes, depends on the size of squid. Avoid cooking squid too long as it will leave you with rubbery, chewy squid.


Cut the squid into slices.

Transfer squid onto a serving plate. Use a clean brush to brush the squid with another layer of yakitori sauce.

Garnish with green onion, sprinkle assorted chili pepper, and a few slices of lemon.

My girls like to enjoy this tasty broiled squid with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Eat well.  Stay healthy. 

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