Squid (food)

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"Calamari" redirects here. For other uses, see Calamari (disambiguation).

Squid is a popular food in many parts of the world.

In many of the languages around the Mediterranean sea, squid are referred to by a term related to the Italian "calamari" (singular "calamaro"), which in English has become a culinary name for Mediterranean dishes involving squid, especially fried squid (fried calamari).[1]

Fried squid[edit]

Fried calamares from Spain
Karaage of squid legs from Japan
Battered and fried baby squid, known as puntillitas - a popular tapas dish in Andalusia, Spain
Basque Rabas, in Gorliz, Biscay, Basque Country - deep fried squid body rings and tentacles
Turkish Kalamar ve Tarator Sosu - fried squid body rings with tarator
분식집 오징어튀김
Korea style fried squid

Fried squid (fried calamari, calamari) is a dish in Mediterranean cuisine. It consists of batter-coated, deep fried squid, fried for less than two minutes to prevent toughness. It is served plain, with salt and lemon on the side.

In North America, it is a staple in seafood restaurants. It is served as an appetizer, garnished with parsley, or sprinkled with parmesan cheese. It is served with dips: peppercorn mayonnaise, tzatziki, or in the United States, marinara sauce, tartar sauce, or cocktail sauce. In Mexico it is served with Tabasco sauce or habanero. Other dips, such as ketchup, aioli, and olive oil are used. In the United States, government and industry worked together to popularize calamari consumption in the 1990s.[2]

In Lebanon, Syria and Turkey it is served with tarator, a sauce made using tahini. Like many seafood dishes, it may be served with a slice of lemon.

In South Africa, Australia and New Zealand fried calamari is popular in fish and chip shops; imitation calamari of white fish may also be used. When offered for sale as whole fresh animals, the term Calamari should only be used to describe the Northern and Southern Calamari (Sepioteuthis spp.), however once prepared as food it is common to apply the term calamari to any squid species and even cuttlefish.[citation needed]

Squid preparation[edit]

The body (mantle) can be stuffed whole, cut into flat pieces or sliced into rings. The arms, tentacles and ink are edible; the only parts of the squid that are not eaten are its beak and gladius (pen).


The word calamari is the plural form of the Italian word for squid, calamaro. Similar forms are used in other languages, such as καλαμάρι kalamári (Greek), kalamar (Turkish), calmar (French), kalmari (Finnish), calamar (Spanish).

The name derives from the Late or Medieval Latin calamarium (cf. Greek καλαμάριον kalamarion), "pen case" or "ink pot", itself from the Latin calamarius, "pertaining to a writing-reed" and its feminine form calamaria (theca), after the resemblance in shape and the inky fluid that squid secrete; calamarius in turn derives from the Greek κάλαμος kalamos meaning "reed," "tube" or "pen".[1][8][9][10][11][12][13]


Allergies to calamari can occur.[14] As with other molluscs, the allergen is probably tropomyosin.[15]


Imitation calamari[edit]

In episode 484: "Doppelgängers" of This American Life (January 3, 2014), Ira Glass reported on the serving of imitation calamari, actually made of pork bung (hog intestines and rectums), unbeknownst to customers.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Definition of calamari". Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary. 
  2. ^ Frank, Matthew Gavin. "The origin of an appetizer: A look at the creation of calamari". Salon (website). Retrieved 1 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts - Google Books
  4. ^ a b National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - United States. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Google Books
  5. ^ Protein resources and technology: status and research needs - Max Milner, Nevin S. Scrimshaw, Daniel I-chyau Wang - Google Books
  6. ^ New Scientist - Google Books
  7. ^ Using the seas to serve people: a report on the Massachusetts Institute of ... - Bronwyn Hurd, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sea Grant Program - Google Books
  8. ^ "calamari". The Free Dictionary. 
  9. ^ Harper, Douglas. "calamari". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  10. ^ calamarius. Charlton T. Lewis and Charles Short. A Latin Dictionary on Perseus Project.
  11. ^ Babibiotis, Georgios (2002). "καλαμάρι". Λεξικό της Νεάς Ελληνικής Γλώσσας [Dictionary of Modern Greek] (in Greek). 
  12. ^ Beekes, Robert (2010). "κάλαμος". Etymological Dictionary of Greek. Leiden Indo-European Etymological Dictionary Series. With the assistance of Lucien van Beek. Brill. 
  13. ^ καλαμάριον, κάλαμος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  14. ^ "Sea Food Allergy". Allergy Society of South Africa. Retrieved 2010-07-04. 
  15. ^ Auckland Allergy Clinic, "Seafood Allergy"
  16. ^ Ira Glass (January 3, 2014). "Doppelgängers". This American Life. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Squid (food) at Wikimedia Commons