Cuttlefish (or squid) is a big thing in Andalusia, Spain. In many traditional restaurants three sizes of squid (or cuttlefish) are offered on the menu.
Chocos: Chocos are from the largest cuttlefish and usually presented fried in batter. The dish consists of finger sized strips of cuttlefish. Sometimes chocos are a bit firm and even sort of crunchy in a fiberistic sort of way. (Delicious!)
Calamares: Calamari is well known though out the world and on many menus. This is the middle size of the cuttlefish served in Spain. Calamari is prepared in many ways but the most popular is battered and fried.
Chipirones: The smallest cuttlefish served are the chipirones. The flesh of the sepia are very thin and so usually chipirones are served "a la plancha", which is basically slightly fried in olive oil.
When I moved to Spain 10 years ago, I stayed away from chipirones. They looked weird. I was accustomed to eating calamari and I quickly became a fan of the larger pieces of chocos, but the chipirones intimidated me.
But,... no longer. I am a big fan now of chipirones and I would like to share a very simple recipe.
You can find chipirones at most fresh fish shops. A typical portion is approximately 3 or 4 chipirones per person, as a main dish.
This is what the chipirones look like when you have them wash. They are very easy to clean.
1. First you cut off the tentacles just above the eye. These turn into delicious tidbits.
2. Then like any fish, remove the head and the entrails. They usually pull out easily.
3. Next, remove the two cartilage straps that provide the shape support. Again, these slide out pretty easily.
4. Finally, I prefer to remove the skin and the fins which is easily done with the fingers.
This is what the chipirones look like when they are prepared for the pan.
Everything else is easy. I prepare them very simply, using only garlic and GringoCool extra virgin olive oil. It is important to use premium quality extra virgin olive oil for the most enjoyment.
The next step is to heat the olive oil and minced up garlic. Do not bring the extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to the smoke point. It changes the quality of extra virgin olive oil. The cooking temperature should be a low heat fry. It takes a minute or two longer, but it is worth it with the use of premium quality EVOO.
Gently fry the chipirones until they are white and slightly firm. Then they are done!
The rest is easy. For this meal, I added a piece of fresh bread toasted, with premium quality, GringoCool extra virgin olive oil and a fresh avocado.
Chipirones are yummy! Give them a try.
Please let me know if you have any favorite Spanish tapa recipes that you would like me to do.
Wishing you a wonderful day - Steve