Market Name: Cuttlefish
Scientific Name: Sepia spp.
Common Name: Common cuttlefish
Flavor: Mild
Texture: Delicate/Medium

A 10-armed mollusk related to octopus and squid, the cuttlefish sports a flat, oblong body and narrow fins. The body is larger and fatter than a squid, making it meatier, and the ink sac is larger than that of the squid or octopus, with darker ink. One pair of arms, which retracts into pouches, is longer than the rest and is used to capture prey. Cuttlefish species range in size from 2 inches to 2 feet. When alarmed, a cuttlefish darts violently backward by expelling a water jet from its mantle cavity. Its ink was formerly used to make a brown pigment called sepia. Cuttlefish is not found in North America except as an export from Europe, where it is caught by trawling, trapping and netting and is as common as squid. It is harvested from coastal waters of the Indo-Pacific, and a larger species of cuttlefish that is marketed as sepia is found in the eastern Atlantic, from France to west Africa. Others come from Korea, Japan and Australia.

Product Profile:
Fresh cuttlefish are light brown, with zebra-like stripes across their mantels. Cooked meat is pure white. Cleaned cuttlefish are bright white, with their tentacles usually intact. Uncleaned, they have a thin, purplish membrane on their bodies, which should be removed. Cuttlefish meat is sweet tasting. The texture is similar to that of a fish fillet and quite tender if cooked properly.

You Should Know:
Light color and elasticity are signs the cuttlefish was processed quickly and properly.

Cooking Tips:
Treat cuttlefish as you would squid; steam, stew in wine, stir-fry, sauté or batter and fry it. You can also serve it as sushi. For a European treat, marinate cuttlefish strips in olive oil, garlic and vinegar, then grill briefly. Or, since much of what’s offered as squid ink is actually cuttlefish ink, try it in “black pasta,” with garlic, shallots, onion, rosemary and thyme. Do not overcook, or the meat will be rubbery and chewy.

Cooking Methods: Fry,Grill,Poach,Saute',Steam

Substitutions: Octopus, Squid

Primary Product Forms:
Fresh: Whole, Cleaned, Fillets (mantle portions, split lengthwise)
Frozen: Whole, Cleaned, Fillets (mantle portions, split lengthwise)
Value-Added: Breaded or unbreaded strips, Dried, Ink

Global Supply: