One of the best things about living in Los Angeles is the incredible smoosh of just about every culture on earth, side by side, right here in my home town. That means I can start my day eating jalebi in Artesia, make a quick stop in Glendale for a kabob and end up in Koreatown up to my eyelids in SQUID. wait...squid? Yes squid. Last week I had the honor of working with the hilarious and oh-so-talented Debbie Lee.
What an education!!!! On my prep day Debbie sent me to the fab Koreatown Galleria where I got a crash course in all food-stuff Korean. The spice aisle alone blew my mind, and then I got to the fish section. Wooooo Hooooooooooo! I am not particularly squeamish (let's put it this way; if the toilet ever overflows in our house I am the one who cleans it up while my hubby cowers in the corner, whimpering) and I am by no means a vegetarian, but I do feel a pang of what.....guilt? Disgust? Let's just call it "discomfort" at the prospect of cutting off an animal's head and ripping it's guts out with my bare hands. In the fish section of the Koreantown Galleria there are MANY opportunities to get in touch with your hunter/gatherer roots. It is WHOLE food in the strongest sense of the word. Imagine my hesitation when instructed to purchase six whole squid to "clean, and cut into rings and tentacles."
Luckily, on the shoot day, Debbie was on hand to instruct me in the finer points of squid butchery. It seems it helps not to name the little darlings, it makes it easier when it's time to separate Sir Squidlington the Third's head from his wee body.
Tentacles are off!! All the parts neatly trimmed and ready for the frying pan.
Sir Squidlington the Third is really a thing of beauty, especially in his final incarnation:
Debbie Lee's Spicy Stir-fried Squid
Sorry folks you'll have to wait for the book to come out for this recipe. Might I just add that working with Debbie Lee was a tasty food fantasy. Every dish yummier than the last. I'm going to have to become an Ahn-Joo food truck stalker!