In California, local squid is a sustainable and healthy seafood choice. Squid are extraordinary creatures in every way and more familiar you become with them, the more there is to admire. For example, take that almost preternatural future-tech object that resides inside each squid. It is called a “pen”. This is a squid’s inner rudder made of a chitin-like substance that seerves to stabilize the marvelous mollusk while it moves through the water. Without its inner “Pen”, a squid would just be floating aimlessly around the ocean like a shampoo in a baggie, which, as we know is already there in abundance. Instead, guided by the feather-shaped internal structure of its “pen” the squid’s mantle of musclulatur helps it flow through the sea as smoothly and elusively as, well, a squid.

Thus, for a squid, its pen is far mightier than a sword.

Thai-Style Black Pepper Squid

•1 1/4 pounds fresh squid
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 cup chopped garlic
1 teaspoon black peppercorns crushed in a pestle
2 tablespoons Organic Oyster sauce
2 tablespoons  Organic Soy Sauce
1 teaspoon Coconut or Palm Sugar
Cilantro leaves and toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Remove the “Pen” from the squid. Clean the inside and cut the squid into bite-size pieces.
Dry thoroughly and set aside.

Put the oil in a wok set over medium heat. Stir fry the garlic until lightly golden and then add the squid, together with the other ingredients. Gently sir-fry for just a couple of minutes until the squid turns white. Serve over hot rice garnished with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. If you purchased frozen squid for this dis it must be completely thawed prior to cooking or it will exude water when cooked and stew rather than fry.

Dried Squid, often available a asian markets makes an absolutely wonderful soup-starter, broth base, or dashi designate. It seems expensive by the pound, but as a dried product it lasts for quite a while, and you need only use a small piece of the delightfully dessicated and concentrated squid to add tremendous depth of flavor and subtle squiddish sweetness to your dish.