Sepia, or cuttlefish, is a cephalopod mollusk with a body shaped like a flattened sac and eight tentacles attached to its mouth, two of them are retractable as well as equipped with suckers. The skin color is brownish. Inside the body there is a dorsal shell, the bone, and a small vesicle containing the ink, a black liquid used in cooking in the preparation of regional dishes. The most common variety of cuttlefish is the «Seppia officinalis», or Mediterranean cuttlefish, which has a rather tender and, consequently, highly appreciated meat. The smallest specimens are best cooked fried or grilled.
A fresh shellfish can be recognized by the iridescent skin and the creamy ink, which is instead grainy if the cuttlefish is old or frozen.
Preparation for cooking includes the removal of the bone part (easily separable from the bag) as well as of eyes, beak, entrails and finally of the blister and its ink. The largest cuttlefishes need to be skinned too.
This mollusk can be enjoyed simply boiled, in salads, or combined with other mollusks and crustaceans in mixed seafood salads. It is also excellent stewed, fried and stuffed.