In 2015, the country of Peru applied for a sustainable resource harvest permit for Humboldt squid. It is a predatory cephalopod that can reach 100 kilograms in mass and can even be a threat to humans if you venture out to far at sea during the night. Prior to 2015 Humboldt squid were considered inedible because like the giant and collossal types of squid, their flesh contains ammonia used to lend bouyancy to the animal. But someone or some group figured out not only how to get around this problem of ammonia but to both find the best meat on the animal and properly tenderize it.
The steak you see here comes from the mantle of a Humboldt squid and has both an inside and an outside layer of skin removed (from both sides of the steak you see here) and is pounded to make it more tender.
The first time I ever had this was in a Japanese hibachi restaurant a couple months ago and I became fixated on where it came from and how to get it. I ordered it with fried rice at the time and was amazed at not only how flavorful, but how tender it was. Now anyone who regularly reads my blog here knows that I am no stranger to squid. But before spring of this year (2018) I had never seen nor heard of these steaks. But they are starting to become more well known and my reason for putting this recipe here is not to show people how to make some compex dish they may have heard about but didn’t know how to cook but rather to introduce a newly available food to those, who like me, may not have heard of it before.
Before I continue I must first disclose that this steak is absolutely delicious. And more tender than squid rings. Fried calamari only wishes it could be so tender! And cooking it is so simple that I am almost embarassed to publish it here. But I will 😉
All you need is a little oil or non stick cooking spray, some salt and pepper as well as a little Teriyaki sauce. I also like to add some Thai basil to mine.
After dusting with a mere pinch of salt and pepper (don’t overdo it), I like to sear it until it gets brown on both sides like you see here. That takes about 4 minutes on each side. You should only flip it once because the squid will start to curl if you flip it too quickly. It sticks to the pan slightly because of the moisture which keeps it from curling so only flip it once after 4 minutes on medium high heat.
After flipping once, I will add some Teriyaki sauce after 2 more minutes. I like this particular brand of Teriyaki sauce from my grocer because it is thick and very tasty. But use whatever you like.
I’ll add a few basil leaves (maybe 4-5 per steak) to the sauce. This will make a delicious glaze and coating for the meat.
And because I had this at a hibachi grill, I am in the habit of cutting the whole steak up into bite sized pieces before I ever start eating it. The steaks are about 1/3″ thick and as I said – very tender. Another interesting fact about Humboldt squid is that they recently started showing up off the coast of Maine and have become a nuisance pest, eating many of the food items we normally harvest there. But these squid are not harvested in the U.S. yet. At present the only countries harvesting Humboldt squid from the ocean are Peru and China.
This is about the most exciting new cuisine I have had in a very long time. When you have been cooking as long as I have, there are few if any surprises left. So this was a huge boon to me and I encourage you to try it. They are very inexpensive for now and you can find them at Sprouts Farmers market for about $5.99 per lb. You can get two steaks for less than that. As these become more popular I do expect the price to go up.
And here is my very simple but refreshing recipe.
Seared Teriyaki Humboldt Squid Steak (serves 1 per steak)
- 1-2 Humboldt squid steaks
- 1 pinch of black pepper
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 tablesoons of good quality Teriyaki sauce
- 4-5 Thai basil leaves per steak
- 1 tsp of vegetable oil or spray pan with no stick spray.
- Dust steaks with salt and pepper. Be sparing because pepper can overwhelm them.
- Heat a no stick cooking pan over medium high heat until hot
- Spray pan with no stick spray or add oil
- Lay squid steaks in the pan and cook for 4 minutes on medium high undisturbed (until browned on lower side).
- Flip steaks and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add Teriyaki sauce to the top (already done) side and add Thai basil leaves.
- Cook 2 more minutes or until bottom side is done.
- Serve with steamed rice.
- If desired, cut steaks into bite sized pieces before serving.