There is a lot of confusion between Calamari Squid, Cuttlefish, and Octopus. What is a squid? What part of a squid is calamari? What is squid ink pasta, and where the black ink comes from? Is calamari squid or octopus? As I came across some fundamental inaccuracies, I decided to dedicate this post to explain some of these differences and confusions.
Last year, I published the recipe Pasta with Black Ink Squid, as typically called in English (source: Google Adword statistic )
However, the name squid is incorrect. The black ink is from cuttlefish, not from a squid. In Italian, they are called: Linguine al nero di seppia.
So I decided to take a closer look at the three cephalopods used in cooking and differentiate them from each other.
Cephalopods are mollusks with tentacles attached to the head. The name comes from Greek: kephale "head" + pod- , stem of pous "foot".
Squid (Eng.), Calmar (Fr.), Calamaro (It.)
Yes, squid and calamari are the same things. Calamaro is squid in Italian and Spanish.
They have long bodies, short tentacles, and reddish bright colors. You can also buy them frozen, often cut into rings.
A very common dish in the Mediterranean is fried squid, which you will often find on the restaurant menu as fried calamari. It is the same thing.
You can also find them mixed with other fried fish in a dish called Frittura di Pesce served with lemon Aioli or Tartar Sauce.
There are many other cooking methods, and I like squids grilled and served over a fresh salad. They are healthier than the fried version and very easy to make.
But if you have time to make something special, you should try: Stuffed Calamari flavored with white wine.
It is a typical dish cooked on Christmas Eve when Italians traditionally have seafood and no meat.
It is best to have your fishmonger clean the squid, and here is how it is done by an expert hand:
Watch carefully, and you will see no ink in a squid!
Cuttlefish (Eng.), Seiche (Fr.), Seppie (It.)
Cuttlefish are white-ish and have a rounder head and a tick bone inside their body, commonly used as calcium-rich dietary supplements for caged canaries.
They are very different from Squid, even if the meat has a similar taste and consistency.
Once they are cleaned and cut, you can hardly distinguish them.
Here is a video on how to clean the cuttlefish,.....and guess what? Here is the Black Ink bag!
Why it is called squid ink in English, I don't know!
This is what the ink sacs look like, and if you are using fresh ink from a Cuttlefish, you need to be very careful about the risk of stains.
Cuttlefish are very different from Squid, but why it is called Squid Ink while it is actually from the cuttlefish, I don’t know !!
In Italian, it is called Nero di Seppia; in French, Encre de seiche...both meaning cuttlefish.
Although, in Spanish, it is called Tinta de Calamar, Squid (in English).
Can the Spanish be the first who got it wrong?
If someone can answer this mystery in the comment box below.
In the meantime, you can try to make this recipe Black Ink Pasta
Octopus (Eng.), Poulpe (Fr.), Polpo (It.)
The easiest to recognize from the others as it has long tentacles and a round and short head.
You can find it already cleaned at the fishmonger and the easiest way of cooking it is to boil it with carrot, celery, and onion for 30 minutes. Sometimes the skin can become very mushy once cooked, so I tend to remove it. It is up to you.
My favorite way of serving the octopus is Warm Octopus “Legs” and Potato Salad.
In this recipe, you will find a fun fact about cooking the octopus in Italy. We put a cork in the water.
0Have a look at the recipe, and you will find out why.
Recipes you might also like
For more seafood recipes, check out the category: Seafood
Also check the recipes below:
If you are making any of the recipes above, leave your comment below I would like to hear from you. You can find more delicious ideas if you FOLLOW ME on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram or sign up to my newsletter.
There is no difference between Squid and Calamari. They are the same thing: Calamari is Squid in Spanish and Italian. Various restaurants have adopted the word Calamari, and you often find the word calamari instead of squid on the menu.
A squid is a calamari. They are the same animal called in different languages.
It is a dark ink the Cephalopod release when in danger to confuse the enemy. Its main constituent is melanin. Squid and octopus also release black ink but are not used in cooking. The ink used in cooking comes from the cuttlefish.
Calamari is squid in Italian. Octopus in Italian is called polipo