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cuttlefish at a fish market or restaurant?

The recent thread on shrimp and grits at Neptune had me going to the web menu posted where I didn't see the shrimp and grits but did see cuttlefish. Opinionatedchef was just there and wrote in the thread that cuttlefish wasn't on the menu at the restaurant.

As I wrote in that thread, I last had cuttlefish in Spain in 1984, in its own ink, and it was one of the most memorable dishes I've ever had. Haven't been back to Spain since, I'm sad to say, but really yearning for cuttlefish. Anyone seen it in a fish market or restaurant?

I know it's also popular and available in Asia as well as Spain/Greece/Venice, so maybe it can be purchased frozen from Asian markets. i'm guessing if it could be purchased in the Boston area, it would have been previously frozen. I haven't been to H-Mart but some of the frozen items I've seen in Chinatown seem far worse for the wear in the freezers. Any good experiences with such purchases to report? thanks.

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  1. I've seen fresh cuttlefish, guts intact, at New Deal. In fact, I've witnessed Carl's father arguing with Carl about whether the customer should be required to take the egg sack in addition to the ink sack for her risotto.

    Oh, and Market Basket carries tiny frozen baby cuttlefish. Cleaned, I believe.

    4 Replies
    1. re: emannths

      oh wow. thanks so much. I'll check it out at New Deal. I'm happy to take the egg sack but can't see using it....I'm not that sophisticated!

      1. re: Madrid

        They don't have it every day (or at least I don't see it in the case every day), so if you're making a special trip I'd call in advance.

        1. re: emannths

          I will, but I'll also look forward to buying whatever looks good! I love a reason to go, and even better if I have a reason to go back.

      2. re: emannths

        The frozen baby ones at MB are PanaPesca brand, $6/500g. You know they're good, because the company's website asks you which division you're looking for, foodservice or bait!

        http://www.panapesca.com/

        On very rare occasions a fresh, large cuttlefish turns up in the fish case a MB.

      3. Jo Jo Taipei does a very nice "three-cup" prep of cuttlefish. Beware the beak as you plow through that dish.

        1. I was surprised and happy to get a personal email from Michael Serpa, the chef at Neptune Oyster, and thrilled that he said he loves cuttlefish and wants to keep it as a mainstay on upcoming menus. They get it imported from Spain through Browne Trading in Portland and it costs about twice as much as squid. The current menu offering appetizer "has baby cuttlefish (which are about 3 inches long) marinated with cilantro & scallion, grilled, then served with a chorizo whipped goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts, and a salad with shaved pears, fennel, celery leaves, white onion, mache, and micro greens dressed with lemon and olive oil. "

          The description of this dish reminds me why I love Neptune so much, and made me realize how the food is similar in style to what Ana Sortun does at Oleana. Artful and delicious ingredients combined in somewhat unexpected ways and flavor combinations. All of this is labor intensive as well as expensive...but what a difference it makes to have mache and micro greens rather than chopped romaine (not that chopped romaine doesn't have its place). It would be cheaper to leave out the hazelnuts, but what a nice added crunch and to me the most luxurious nut taste.

          I've made a promise to myself to go at lunch or mid afternoon and get that cuttlefish very soon!

          Oh, he also said a server mentioned sighting frozen cuttlefish and baby octopus at the Somerville Market Basket.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Madrid

            Heck, I would eat a gopher if you prepared it "marinated with cilantro & scallion, grilled, then served with a chorizo whipped goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts, and a salad with shaved pears, fennel, celery leaves, white onion, mache, and micro greens dressed with lemon and olive oil. "

          2. update: saw some cleaned frozen baby cuttlefish at the Alewife Whole Foods today. One of the major annoyances is how many items in the store did not have price labels. I can't tell you the price.

            1. The cuttlefish dish at Neptune is indeed delicious. I've also had it as a special at Estragon (a specimen that was big enough for a table of 12), but I haven't seen it on the menu there lately.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

              1. The River St. Whole Foods in Cambridge also has cleaned/frozen cuttlefish. I think it's $7.99 a package, but I can't remember the quantity. Sorry.

                1. Mulan also serves three-cup cuttlefish, which is a common Taiwanese preparation. I am not entirely sure if Mulan and Jo Jo Taipei observe a 100% clear distinction between cuttlefish and squid, since the same word in Chinese (魷魚) is often used for both.

                  1. They have them at Hong Kong Eatery (not the baby ones) in the front window along with the hanging ducks and ribs, the chicken livers, the offal, and the roasted pig carcasses.

                    You can get an order on a plate with rice, or take just cuttlefish to go. They're bright yellow, for some reason.

                    I've never ordered them , though all these cuttlefish raves are pushing me in that direction.

                    1. I've had it (prepared wonderfully) at Neptune oyster. Also, Shabu on Hancock St. in Quincy has it as a special often. I haven't had it yet but everything else there is great.

                      1. The deli at Kam Man Market in Quincy has large cooked cuttlefish hanging next to the roast ducklings. I haven't tried it yet, so I don't know how good it is.