In American cuisine, squid and octopus are not what you'd call popular ingredients. Many of us have had fried calamari (squid) before, some of us have ventured on to grilled octopus, but few have gone further than that. This is not okay. There's so much more you can do with these ingredients from the sea.

If you don't know how to handle squid or octopus, they can be challenging to prepare -- with the result being chewy seafood. Since they don't have skeletons, their muscles are supported by connective tissue which toughen when cooked. To tenderize squid, quickly pound it before cooking. To most easily tenderize octopus, slowly braise it.

While you can get octopus and squid whole, we recommend opting for them already portioned (that way you don't have to deal with cleaning it). Try them in the recipes below -- they just might make squid and octopus common ingredients in your kitchen.

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  • Grilled Octopus

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://blog.bradajohnson.net/how-to-cook-an-octopus-mexico-style" target="_hplink">Grilled Octopus recipe</a> by Brad A Johnson</strong> If you want to fall in love with octopus, you should grill it. The charred flavor and texture shines against the tender meat of the octopus.

  • Fried Calamari

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.foodie-girl.com/2012/08/fried-calamari.html" target="_hplink">Fried Calamari recipe</a> by Foodie Girl</strong> If you're a fan of fried calamari, just wait till you make it at home. You've never tasted it so crisp and light as with this recipe.

  • Yakisoba Soba (With Chilli Octopus)

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://wholesome-cook.com/2012/02/20/yakisoba-soba-with-chilli-octopus/" target="_hplink">Yakisoba Soba (With Chilli Octopus) recipe</a> by Wholesome Cook</strong> Baby octopuses are marinated in a chili sauce before being seared in a wok. Served atop soba noodles, this makes a easy and satisfying dinner.

  • Stuffed Calamari

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.apronandsneakers.com/2012/06/calamari-ripieni-stuffed-calamari.html" target="_hplink">Stuffed Calamari recipe</a> by Apron and Sneakers</strong> A traditional Italian dish, calamari is stuffed with prosciutto to make a hearty meal.

  • Baby Octopus In Tomato Sauce

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://norecipes.com/blog/baby-octopus-in-tomato-sauce-recipe/" target="_hplink">Baby Octopus in Tomato Sauce recipe</a> by No Recipes</strong> When slowly cooked, octopus meat becomes increasingly tender. These baby octopuses are cooked in a spanish sofrito and served atop new potatoes.

  • Korean Squid Bulgogi

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.heartmindandseoul.com/korean-squid-bulgogi/" target="_hplink">Korean Squid Bulgogi recipe</a> by Heart Mind and Seoul</strong> Squid is a common dish in Korea and this recipe cooks it just right. Check out the recipe for step-by-step instructions on how to prepare it.

  • Octopus Salad With Peppers And Olives

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://italltastesgreektome.blogspot.com/2012/03/octopus-salad-with-peppers-and-olives.html" target="_hplink">Octopus Salad with Peppers and Olives recipe</a> by It All Tastes Greek To Me</strong> Octopus is slowly cooked with star anise before being served atop a salad of bell peppers and Kalamata olives.

  • Sauteed Calamari With Vinaigrette And Catalan Spinach

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://www.chefdarin.com/2012/07/sauteed-calamari-with-vinaigrette-and-catalan-spinach/" target="_hplink">Sauteed Calamari with Vinaigrette and Catalan Spinach recipe</a> by Chef Darin</strong> This calamari dish is perfect for a summertime dinner. It takes no time to put together and is light and healthy.

  • Marinated Octopus Salad

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://wholesome-cook.com/2011/03/14/how-to-cook-octopus-tasty-salad-recipe/" target="_hplink">Marinated Octopus Salad recipe</a> by Wholesome Cook</strong> Soft-poached octopus is served against crunchy vegetables in this light and refreshing salad.

  • Squid With Miso Vinaigrette

    <strong>Get the <a href="http://justonecookbook.com/blog/recipes/boiled-squid-with-miso-vinaigrette/" target="_hplink">Squid with Miso Vinaigrette recipe</a> by Just One Cookbook</strong> If you're new to cooking with squid this simple preparation is a good first recipe to try.

  • Takoyaki to go with your Beer

    Try this Japanese classic beer food, Takoyaki or "Octopus Balls".