So, I've had some difficulties with Squid. I think my favorite style of squid is the type you can find at a Chinese Buffet - big chunks of squid, where a slice of a tentacle can be the size of your pinky.
I've had some great luck finding fresh, already cleaned squid at H-Mart, a Korean supermarket which typically stocks a lot of good Seafood. It was properly cleaned, no guts, came to the supermarket already frozen (Some on display were thawed, but there was a whole pile of still-frozen whole suqid to pick through). I deep fried it in some seasoned flour, and it came out really well.
People say you shouldn't cook squid too long or it gets rubbery - well, I fried it for a decent amount of time and it DID get chewy - but that's ok. The flavor of the squid still came out really well, and chewing it wasn't really that unpleasant. Actually, when I briefly deep-fried it, there was a more "springy" bite, but the flavor seemed milder as well.
I came back and saw a cheap bag of baby squid. I left them overnight, and realized that I had to clean them the next morning. They smelled...well...I couldn't tell if it was a natural ocean smell, or if something was wrong (something was definitely wrong). I cleaned all of them, took the guts out (I am assuming that squid typically lose freshness a lot quicker if they are being sold and sitting around with innards) - The flesh was slippery, and actually felt like it was sandy/gritty - there was no sand, so I can only assume that this meant that the flesh was somewhat decomposed by bacteria already. Anyway, I cleaned all of them, sniffed them, and decided that there was a really stank ammonia-oceanic smell that wasn't worth it.
So today my mom brought in some baby squid she bought from the market. I just spent a while cleaning them. They smelled just faintly sweet - some ocean - but not really like a nasty ammonia. It took me a while to clean all 20-30 of them, and I didn't leave them on ice, so when I was ready to batter them there was a bit of an ocean smell that did come through. Still, they were definitely fresher than the other ones - the last batch actually gave me a bit of a gag reflex when I really tried to sniff out if anything was wrong.
Anyway, I deep fried them for a while. It took them longer than I expected for the batter to get crispy.
The batter was crispy, but the squid was...well, it wasn't chewy - actually, the flesh didn't really give much pushback - it wasn't quite MUSHY but it definitely was not SPRINGY. I very lightly cooked one, and it did have a bit of a springy bite, so is this because I overcooked them? Or because baby squid have tender flesh that breaks down quickly - through heat OR just sitting around on display?
Does baby squid have a milder flavor than mature, huge squiddies?
How can I make sure baby squid is fresh? Is it supposed to have a flavor at all?