Yep, you heard me.
It’s what I had for lunch yesterday. Yep, I took pictures. Yep, I’m gonna share them. So sit back and relax, because this post is all about…
There are two types of people in the world: those who enjoy eating squid, and those who have faces that scrunch up in disgust at the mere mention of squid as a culinary ingredient. When I was a kid, the thought of eating squid sounded repulsive, and I watched in horror when my grandfather ate squid in its own ink (calamares en su tinta), a popular dish in northern Spain, where he was from.
I can’t remember when the switch was flipped, but now, unfortunately for the squid population, I’m a big fan of squid in all its forms. Call it squid, call it calamares or calamari, call it whatever you want – I’ll try it. I enjoy it fried (although I haven’t indulged in it in a looooong time). I enjoy it with rice at sushi counters. I’d like to find squid in its own ink and try that, because I too scared to try it as a kid.
When I saw the following item in the refrigerated section at Whole Foods a few months back, I shrugged my shoulders, thought “why not?” and put it in my cart.
Dinon Small Squid Salad. This has been sitting in my fridge for 2 months, but the expiration date was still a month away, so yesterday, I cracked it open. It’s recommended that you drain it before you eat it, so it sat in a colander in my sink for a few minutes.
It’s basically tiny whole squid and some julienned veggies (carrot and turnip) preserved in oil and vinegar, with salt and spices thrown in. The 7.1-ounce container is one serving (although of that is drained away), and contains 140 calories, 6 grams of fat, and 19 grams of protein. The one thing on the nutrition label that gave me slight pause was the sodium: 830 mg, which is over 1/3 of your daily allotment. That’s a lot of sodium. And on a day when I ate a serving of beef jerky (also high in sodium) as a protein fix after my morning workout at the gym. Long story short, I probably ate too much sodium yesterday, but that’s not the end of the world.
While the squid salad was draining in the sink, I went about making a side dish to accompany it. The squid salad seemed Asian to me, so I went with bok choy, a type of Chinese cabbage, that I sauteed with garlic and ponzu sauce, a Japanese sauce made from citrus and soy (it, too, has some sodium in it, so add that to yesterday’s sodium pile).
It wasn’t until the bok choy was cooking away that I took a closer look at the squid salad packaging and saw it was a product of Italy. Turns out squid salad is served as part of the antipasto course in parts of Italy (though I don’t know which ones). So much for my all-Asian-style lunch.
Once the bok choy was cooked, I loaded up my plate and added the squid salad.
It was pretty good! Squid is naturally a pretty chewy seafood, but this squid wasn’t rubbery at all. It was flavorful and unexpectedly fresh-tasting, and it paired well, surprisingly enough, with the bok choy. I don’t know if I’d rush out and buy more of the stuff, but perhaps every once in a while as a treat (it was a little pricey – around $8, if I remember correctly).
I’m slowly building up the courage to buy raw squid from a fish counter and cook with it myself. I’ve never done that before, because every time I see someone prepare squid on a TV cooking show, they always, without fail, talk about how precise everything needs to be so you don’t overcook it and turn it into a rubbery mess.
Until then, I’m happy that I’m continuing to try new things. There are other products in the Dinon seafood line… Maybe I’ll try something else soon!
KEEP IT UP, DAVID!
P.S. Curious about other exciting squid products? Check out my post about squid jerky!