Jan 14, 2010

Shokushu Goukan

One Saturday last year I found myself at Borough Market for the first time. It was impressive, with an amazing array of fresh ingredients, cheeses, preserved meats, mushrooms, but also had a slightly irritating fragrance of yuppiness in the air*. And I think I can match most breads on display.

But it's pretty, very pretty.

I bought some squid. Fresh. It was late afternoon, I was given a special deal, there was a communication problem, etc: all those factors which combine to have you suddenly walking home with almost a kilo of tentacles in your bag. Some vegetables too, but they were relatively insignificant.

Yes, uncleaned. Not too intimidating though - I've seen enough fish from water to table to give it a good try. It was only later that I wondered whether I was quite ready for the intimacy required.

It might be messy, so make sure you've got space, newspapers and the usual safety precautions. Latex might be useful too. Start with the quill, feel around, press a bit, until you can grab it and pull it out. Now gently slip your fingers inside the tube, feel how soft and slippery it is. Glide your fingers around the outside, gently freeing the bits, then pull out the head. Be very careful with the ink sack - you don't want to be too rough on something that sensitive. Remove the beak from its nest between the tentacles, then cut off the eyes and non-meaty parts. With water as lubricant, put your fingers inside the tube one last time to make sure everything is clean, then put it aside and tackle the next.

I opened the tubes to get a flat steak, then scored the flesh. Chilli, lemon and a rubbing of salt follows, then a few seconds on either side in a hot pan. It will curl up in protest, you'll have to be firm and press it against the metal. Then it is done. It should be soft: too much cooking will toughen it, too little will leave it squeaky (but err on the side of the latter). Have with bread or potatoes, with a bowl of salad too.

* I.e. some people buy here regularly, but I can't afford to.


arcadia said...


jy moet dalk volgende keer 'n genki/eel post doen. hotness.

en die line "ie, some people buy here regularly, I can't afford to", is so waar van ons. yay R2-red peppers! yay free suurlemoene! yay boeremark!

Marie said...


I have yet to conquer this animal.

Jeanne said...

You're a braver man than me... Not sure I could get that up close and personal with a tentacly thing ;-) Agree on Borough - so pretty but I so can't afford to buy there, other than the odd treat. Still, when you need something uusual at short notice, you can usually find it there.