THE BLOG
02/23/2011 10:47 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Demystifying Scary Purple Sea Monsters: How To Clean & Cook Squid

I touched squid for the first time when I was 27 years old and cooking in spain. Squid scared me. The tangled mass of purple tubes and tentacles I found at the local fishmonger looked like medusa, and many times left me turned to stone.

In my first year working in Barcelona, my boss handed me a tray of slimy looking squid and asked me to prepare them for service. I turned to stone. I did not know where to start. My boss could tell I was clueless, so he quickly cleaned a couple of squid for me and showed me how to separate the mollusk into parts and sub-parts. He organized all of the little pieces on a new tray and suddenly, that tangled mass of purple tubes and tentacles looked appetizing and orderly! He made it look easy.

My boss left me with three huge trays of intimidating, suction-cupped, purple sea monsters. Timidly, I picked up the first squid and promptly destroyed it! I picked up another -- destroyed. a third -- also destroyed. However, by the end of the third tray, I learned to tame the beast.

If my impatient boss had shown me the following slideshow, it would have helped me to skip directly to the third tray, without destroying so many innocent mollusks.

PHOTO GALLERIES
Demystifying Scary Purple Sea Monsters