Proving myself wrong in record time (see comments on my first post, where I claimed I wouldn't be discussing squid recipes), today's squid is served with chiles, lime, and herbs.


The coincidence was just too good to pass up. Another commenter suggested that squid popularity these days isn't just a flash in the pan--and then a recipe blog in the Village Voice by that very name posts a squid dish!

Of course, I see it as an opportunity to discuss seafood labeling and sustainability. I've noticed the recipe ingredient list never gets any more specific than "squid". But there are lots of squid in the world. Which species should you buy if you're making this or any other recipe? How would you even know what's available? It's not like scientific names are ever printed on the packaging.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program lists four different kinds of squid--wait, scratch that, one of the "kinds" is plain "squid". I guess they did that because sometimes you just can't find out what species you're buying. Here's what they have to say about it:
Increasingly, squid are becoming the target in areas where other species have declined due to overfishing. Without effective management and enforcement measures in place we are concerned that squid fisheries are at risk of collapse.
I couldn't have put it better. The problem is that we know so very little about squid that it's hard to even design effective management, much less enforce it. For many squid species, we have no biomass estimates, little knowledge of spawning seasonality or location, and a limited understanding of population dynamics. This is exactly the situation we had at the beginning of exploiting the many, many fish stocks that have since collapsed!

Now we know more about the biology of these fish, but we're faced with using that knowledge to recover a disaster, instead of preventing a disaster in the first place.

Off the soapbox and on to practical matters: at least one commercially fished squid, Loligo pealei, the long-finned squid, has a reasonably thorough stock assessment and scientists believe the fishery is in good shape. So, if you're ready to make that flash in the pan, look for longfins!