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Exploring the Wok: Unveiling the Versatility of Squid

Yesterday, our crew glimpsed a dark stain on the fish pier, sparking excitement within us. It's a telltale sign that squid are present in the Sound and harbors of Cape Cod. From seasoned fishermen in small trawl boats to children with squid rigs, everyone is buzzing about squid.

Cape Cod boasts a rich history of squid fishing, with some of the finest spots right off our shores, particularly in Cape waters of Nantucket Sound and south of the Islands. These cephalopods typically make their appearance when the water temperature hits around 51-53 degrees Fahrenheit.

Squid, also known as calamari, rose to prominence as an American favorite in the 1990s. Often featured on pub menus, they're fried with peppers and served alongside tartar or marinara sauce. However, squid offers much more than just a simple appetizer. With its boneless nature, firm texture, and quick cooking time, it serves as a canvas for culinary creativity. It readily absorbs the flavors of its surroundings, making it a delightful ingredient in Mediterranean and Asian cuisines alike.

This week, our featured recipe showcases an Asian-inspired appetizer that's light and spicy. Succulent squid paired with spicy chili sauce, fragrant peppercorns, and fresh spring onions, all infused with a touch of ginger for a burst of flavor. Enjoy!

Salt and Pepper Squid

Feeds: 4-6 as an appetizer 2-3 as an entree.


  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns

  • 1 tsp black peppercorns

  • 1 tbsp sea salt flakes

  • 1/4 c plain flour

  • 1/4 c cornflour

  • 1 lb squid tubes and tentacles,  cleaned

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for frying

  • 6 spring onions, sliced

  • 1 Tbsp ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks

  • 1/8 c red chile sauce 


  1. Begin by toasting all the peppercorns in a deep frying pan or wok over high heat for about 30 seconds. Once toasted, remove them from the pan and crush them along with the salt using a pestle and mortar. In a bowl, whisk together both types of flour, then add the crushed peppercorn mixture and mix well. If whole peppercorns are available then just add in to the flour )

  2. Prepare the squid by cutting the tubes down one side and flattening them out like a book. Using a sharp knife, lightly score the insides of the squid in a crisscross pattern, being careful not to cut all the way through. Then, cut the squid into bite-sized pieces. Cut the tentacles into similar-sized pieces as well.

  3. Heat a 2-inch depth of oil in a heavy-based pan or wok until it reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit on a thermometer. Coat the squid pieces evenly in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess. Carefully lower the coated squid into the hot oil in batches. Fry for 2-3 minutes, or until they turn crisp and golden brown. Once fried, drain the squid on kitchen paper.

  4. Once all the squid is cooked, you can serve it as is with lemon wedges for squeezing over. Alternatively, you can heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok over high heat until hot. Stir-fry the spring onions and ginger for about 30 seconds until they turn lightly golden. Add all the cooked squid to the wok and toss to combine. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, drizzle with chili sauce, sprinkle with a little more sea salt if desired, and serve.


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