Octopus vs. Squid: How to Prepare, Cook, and Enjoy
Today we’re going to take a look at octopus vs. squid. It’s less of a competition and more of a distinction between two delicious options, with numerous varieties too. There are so many ways to prepare, cook and enjoy these delicacies - so let’s get into it!
Squid And Octopus: What’s The Difference?
Although they are cephalopod cousins, squid and octopus are very different. There’s a whole reef of fascinating information on the internet for those who want to find out the nitty gritty details. Here are some basic differences according to the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation:
Squid bob around in the open ocean while octopuses move around the seafloor and like dark crevices. Octopuses are solitary animals, while squid live independently or in schools. There are over 300 species of each - and they also look really different. One way to tell the difference if you are staring right at it is that octopus have square pupils, while squid have round pupils.
The differences and distinctions carry into the kitchen as well. Squid and octopus have different tastes, different textures and are featured in different traditional dishes around the globe. Many people find Octopuses to taste very rich. Squid meat is tougher and smoother - but is tender and firm when cooked, allowing it to soak up flavors or fry into delicious ringlets known around the globe as calamari.
Food sources such as octopus and squid have been healthy staples through time - allowing human communities to survive and flourish.
How To Prepare, Cook, and Enjoy
For people that live in coastal areas, seafood cuisine is a foundational element of culture, tradition, and imagination. But people living in landlocked parts of the planet can prepare, cook and enjoy both octopus and squid in their own home too.
A great way to do this is by embracing and experimenting with tinned fish. And while you might assume that cans of fish are exclusive to species like tuna, sardines, and anchovies - you can rejoice in knowing that the possibilities are in fact much wider. Squid and octopus are also canned up and distributed around the world.
The confluence of unique canning practices and stunning biodiversity sets up the Iberian Coast as the ideal hotspot for canned squid and octopus. Many different species being prepared via a diverse set of methods has led to a huge number of exciting varieties to these fantastic morsels. For example, Palacio de Oriente Squid is prepared in a sauce developed from the squid’s own ink, resulting in a unique and delicious flavor profile.
One of the perks of tinned octopus and squid in particular is that you can stock up your pantry without stressing about cooking or eating these sea creatures fresh. You can prepare for spontaneous future meals or use it up right away - regardless, the tinned preservation method provides a lot more flexibility for various lifestyles.
Another fun way to prepare to cook up some octopus or squid is to divulge in the wide splashes of celebrity chefs, food bloggers, and artisanal restaurants. In many cases, online recipes are available from industry professionals who share your interests - whether that is a focus on foraging, sustainability, a paleo-like diet, or the Iberian peninsula. Why doom scroll when you can surf the webs for inspiration?
You may even live near or visit restaurants that specialize in tinned fish dishes. You can try something new, test your tastebuds, and then give it a whirl at home.
As is generally the case in the kitchen, physics and your imagination are the main limiting factors. Some recipe ideas to consider include a mouth-watering squid risotto. You could swim your spoon around in a garlic-lime calamari dish. Perhaps you would like to travel to Spain with your taste buds by trying out a grilled octopus with chorizo and potatoes.
A tip: fresh octopus can be an intimidating meal to cook if you’re a beginner. So instead of fresh meat, find some canned octopus or pulpo in high-quality olive oil or salt water. If these products aren’t available at a speciality store in your area, they are quite easy to order online. Depending on your preferences, tinned octopus or squid can be incorporated into an elaborate meal, forked straight out of the can, or tossed in a salad with herbs and citrus.
As is generally the case when cooking, a marinade can go a long way. This is true of octopus and squid, and when done well, can really make the taste pop without compromising the subtle flavor of the meat itself.
Enjoying great food that connects us to the beloved coastal landscapes isn’t hard to do. It’s as easy as gathering together with people you love and reveling in the deliciousness of good food and good company.Check out our Octopus in Olive Oil from Palacio de Oriente and Squid to get started!