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Beyond calamari: What to do with all that squid

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Jumbo Humboldt squid are invading Southern California waters, much to the delight of sportfishing enthusiasts. The super-sized cephalopods, which measure up to six feet, are being reeled in by the hundreds off the coast of Oceanside, according to the U-T San Diego.

But what are we to do with all this squid? To answer that question, I turned to the experts; I turned my dad. Now an Oregon-based chef, my father enjoyed a similar squid invasion in the early 1990s in the Southern Baja fishing village where my family lives. My stepmother fishes squid professionally, and she recounts times when there were so many Humboldts that they were fighting for real estate in the Sea of Cortez waters. (By the time I cast my first squid jig, the numbers were greatly depleted.)

Calamari is a bar staple, but the deep-fried ringlets can get real old real fast. So, I asked my dad to list some of his favorite alternatives. He quickly named many options, his inner Bubba Blue making an appearance.

"Oh, anything you'd do with seafood you can do with squid," he began. "Ceviche, scampi, pastas …." The list goes on. There are squid steaks. Cream of squid is a popular party dish in our village, and squid is generally part of campechana cocktails, soups, and salads. Other dishes are less expected: "You can make chorizo [sausage] or squid chicharrones." Dried, shredded machaca is tasty, too, if a little more difficult to make. "It doesn't shred as nicely as manta ray."

An online search turned up many intriguing recipes, too: Szechuan peppered calamari, linguini pescatore, pickled squid, carpaccio, squid pilaf, Japanese-style fried ginger squid, cioppino, paella, and a ton of squid ink pasta options.

Here's one of my dad's go-to recipes: 

Seafood Linguine


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 15 scrubbed clams
  • 15 mussels
  • 1/2 pound fish
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cleaned squid, cut into 1/2-inch rings
  • 2 1/2 cups prepared marinara
  • red chile flakes, to taste
  • 6 to 8 ounces uncooked dried linguine (prepare according to package)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


1. Heat olive oil in hot sauté pan.
2. Add garlic.
3. Throw in clams and mussels in their shells.
4. Add fish and squid.
5. Deglaze with white wine.
6. Add marinara and let simmer. Continue simmering until clams and mussels open up.
7. Toss with cooked linguine.
8. Plate and add parsley.

He also alerted me to some other exciting squid options, like a fried squid po'boy (he suggests improvising a chipotle remoulade) and buttermilk-battered calimari.

What are your favorite squid-based dishes? Click here to share some of your favorite food traditions with KPCC journalists.

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