Sepia (latin: Sepia officinalis) or real squid belong to the family of ten tentacle-squids. They live off Western European coasts, North Africa, the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea.
Unlike other squids, their coat is usually more dull and less cuneiform. But the most fundamental difference is the shape of their inner skeleton, which is formed like a flat bowl of limestone. This bowl contains numerous gas-filled chambers, which help with buoyancy.
Like most cuttlefish the sepia has a horn-like beak. There are ten tentacles around its mouth, which are usually relatively short. The longer tentacles, which they use for hunting, are hidden between the tentacle arms when at rest.
Sepia are lurking hunters but aren't as fast moving as squids. Their main propulsion is generated by their fin edging, which runs around their whole body like a band. Its wave-like motion propels it forward. In the face of danger, like squids, they squeeze water out of their coat tube to get away in a hurry.
Sepia should be precooked or pounded, to avoid the meat being tough. Afterwards the meat can be cut in pieces and, depending on taste, fried, grilled, battered or deep fried.
A classic recipe is Seppie in umido (stewed sepia). The sepia is cut into stripes then marinates for a few hours in a wine vinegar, onion, salt and pepper mixture. It is then garnished with a garlic, parsley and tomate paste, then topped with peas.
Flavour and texture
Sepia meat is soft and elastic. A little tough, but very tasty. It has a neutral smell.
Pots and traps
Fishing with traps and pots is one of the oldest fishing methods. Our Stone Age ancestors used this method, which involves attaching the baited cages to lines and submerging them in the water. Unlike trawling, for example, it is one of the more passive fishing methods and also one of the best methods for preserving fish stocks.
Pots often resemble cages or baskets with one more openings (funnels) and are placed on the ocean floor, with or without bait.
Once the fish has swum into the pot, it cannot escape due to the funnel-shaped entrance. However, if the animal has not yet reached the desired catch size, it can get out through the escape hatches. This enables selective fishing.