What Are Calamari Squid Cuttlefish and Octopus

Halloween is just around the corner and I though it was a good time to explain the difference between the Calamari Squid, Cuttlefish and Octopus, often used for creepy Halloween recipes.

tattler-1_3_1There is a lot of confusion on what is a squid, what part of a squid is calamari, what is squid ink pasta and where the black ink comes from.

So I decided to dedicate this post to clarify some of these mysteries.

Last year for Halloween I published the recipe Pasta with Black Ink Squid, as typically called in English (from google Adword statistic)

However this past summer, while translating seafood names in English Italian and French, I realized that the name was not in fact correct.

So I took a closer look at the 3 cephalopods used in cooking and differentiated them from each others.

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Octopus for Octopus salad

Octopus (Eng.), Poulpe (Fr.), Polpo (It.)

The easiest to recognize from the others as it has long tentacles and a round short head.

 

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My favourite way of cooking the octopus is Warm Octopus “Legs” and Potato Salad

Warm Octopus Salad “Legs” and Potato

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Squid (Eng.), Calmar (Fr.), Calamaro (It.)

They have long bodies, short tentacles and reddish bright colour.

 

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I like squids grilled and served over a fresh salad like: Radicchio Salad with Grilled Squid.

But if you have time to make something special, you should try: Stuffed Calamari flavoured with white wine

Here is a video on how to clean it:

Can you see the Black Ink Squid?

 

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Stuffed Calamari Recipe

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Cuttlefish (Eng.), Seiche (Fr.), Seppie (It.)

Cuttlefish are white-ish, have a rounder head and a tick bone inside their body, which is commonly used as calcium-rich dietary supplements for caged canaries.

Here is a video on how to clean the cuttlefish, .....and guess what?

 

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And there is the Black Ink bag! 

This is what the ink sacs look like, and if you are using the fresh ink from a Cuttlefish, you need to be very careful for the risk of stains.

 

 

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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 is called Nero di Seppia, in French Encre de seiche...

...in Spanish Tinta de Calamar, like Calmar (Fr.), Calamaro (It.), Squid (Eng.) ?!?!

Can this be the reason why in English is called squid ink?

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squid-vs-cuttlefish-1_1_1

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If someone can answer this mystery, please let me know in the comment box below.

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  1 comment for “What Are Calamari Squid Cuttlefish and Octopus

  1. 6th October 2017 at 12:51 am

    Great post Laura! I’ve never known the difference between them and I don’t know why it’s called squid ink either!

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