Whole Fish

Gulf Seafood + Southern Food

It goes without saying that new things in food are always exciting. But what about re-newed things? When I was young, growing up here in Houston, I vividly remember the beat up old Dodge van with the word SHRIMP (written in block letters with black duct tape) that used to cruise through our neighborhood on Sunday afternoons, randomly hittin' the horn, selling fresh, never frozen, head-on Gulf Shrimp. Those days are long gone. Now, I have to drive down to Palacios and call up my buddy, T-Roy, to get close to that experience.

Well, just last week, something just as fabulous as those remembered shrimp came to me at REEF: Fresh Baby Gulf Coast Squid.

Squid in my hand

I am (almost) embarrassed to admit how turned on I was by these little beauties.
Is it wrong to be stirred in such a way by such a thing? Well, if it is, then I don’t wanna be right.

There are many varieties of squid that make the Gulf their home. But this particular guy -the Atlantic Brief Squid (Lolliguncula brevis) - is very common in the Texas Bays. They rarely grow longer than 3 inches in tube length.

There are many different types of squid species in the littoral zone but very few inhabit the brackish Gulf waters.

The Atlantic Brief Squid’s habitat ranges from Maryland to Rio de la Plata, Argentina. They feed mainly on grass shrimp and small fishes. Its round fins make it less streamlined than most squid, but its most unique feature is that it is an osmoconformer (a sexy word if I ever heard one), which means its body salinity matches the ambient water salinity. This might seem unimportant to you, but when I learned this, my stomach quickly pointed out that harvesting these squid in saltier water is guaranteed to yield a sweeter, brinier morsel (similar to the results of timely oyster harvests). Note to self: I think I just found another use for my refractometer.

Squid with Texas quarter

For the foragers out there like me, cast-netting on the Bay side in The Galveston and Matagorda estuaries on a hot summer night can be very fruitful, indeed.

Crispy Texas Squid, Grilled Green Tomatoes, Cilantro-Shiso Aioli, Pickled Pepper Puree

Special Thanks to Alex Rappaport


Anonymous said...

those remind me of chipirones which I used to eat when I was growing up in Spain. is there anywhere to get those for pedestrian home cooks in Houston?

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