Gallery: How to Clean Fresh Squid

Here is our friend, the whole squid.
Here is our friend, the whole squid.
Kinda gross, right? To take this bad boy to a manicured state, we'll be getting rid of the fin-like flaps on the body, the purple skin, the entrails and the eyeballs.
Standing over the sink
Standing over the sink
Start by grabbing the squid with two hands (one on the head, and one on the body) and turning it horizontally. Choke up so your hands are as close together as possible—it provides yanking leverage, and makes less of a mess.
Firmly pull both hands apart to separate the head from the body. The entrails should slide out, attached to the head, as pictured. Reserve the body; we'll focus on the head first.
This step can get messy (I picked a particularly clean one for the photo), so you may want to wear an apron or rubber gloves.
Transfer the head to a cutting board
Transfer the head to a cutting board
It's time to harvest the ink. There are actually two sources of ink in the body (I learned this the hard way and made a mess). First is the ink sac, pictured here. It's a silvery sac that can be easily peeled away with your fingers or cut away with a knife. Be careful not to puncture it when removing; then squeeze (or use a knife to make a small drip hole) into a separate container.
If you want more ink, there are small deposits behind the eyeballs as well.
Each sac contains a small amount of black-purple ink.
Each sac contains a small amount of black-purple ink.
Transfer the head to a cutting board
Transfer the head to a cutting board
(Again, choose a plastic one or something you don't mind getting ink on).
Using a paring knife, make a cut just below the eyeballs to separate the tentacles. Try to stay as close to the eyeballs as you can—too far toward the legs and you'll end up chopping away the part of the body that holds the tentacles together.
Here's where it gets a little creepy.
Here's where it gets a little creepy.
The next task is to remove a small, beady object from the upper part of the tentacles. They call it the beak, and it's the squid's mouth. To extract it, simply push it out of either end of the tentacles by squeezing the surrounding area. Discard.
Trim off any extra long tentacles using the paring knife.
Congrats
Congrats
You're halfway done.
Grab hold of one of the tubes
Grab hold of one of the tubes
You'll notice two flaps around the wider end of the body that look like fins. You can trim these away using the paring knife, but I find it simplest to just pull them back with your fingers.
The purple skin will start to come off. This is a good thing. (Some people leave it on—it is edible—but by this point in the game I am usually pretty anxious to see a squeaky clean squid.)
Continue to peel the skin away; discard.
Continue to peel the skin away; discard.
Feel around the inside lip of the tube
Feel around the inside lip of the tube
Feel for a hard piece of cartilage. Yank that out in one pull, and discard.
You're almost there! Just one more step...
Clean
Clean
Anything that may be lingering on the inside of the body. You can cut a slit lengthwise down the tube as shown, then use the back of a knife to scrape away any gooey or sandpapery bits.
But I prefer to leave the tubes intact in order to have circular calimari pieces later. Just pulling the gunky stuff out using your fingernails, or a teaspoon might work. In this case, slice the pointy end off the bottom of the tube to help the yucky stuff slip out.
Behold, the calamari you know and love.
Behold, the calamari you know and love.
To slice the bodies into discs, place them on a sheet pan in the freezer for up to 20 minutes; once they firm up, they'll be easier to run your knife through precisely.
Take that, fishmongers!