This dish is traditionally made with rice, cuttlefish (sepia) and the ink of the cuttlefish. I used squid instead of the cuttlefish.
In Spain when you go to the fish store and you ask for cuttlefish, the fishmonger will ask you if you want the ink. If you are planning on making black rice or black noodles, you will keep it, otherwise you don’t want it.
In the U.S I can’t find cuttlefish, and a lot of you will not even know what it is. But believe me, it is very common in other countries, including Spain. If I am lucky enough to find it, It’s frozen, so there is no ink. I bought cuttlefish ink in a jar (online). It’s perfect and it works really good.
A lot of you might be grilling this weekend, but… if you want a good alternative to the traditional, here is an easy dish to make. Something different, simple, fun and tasty!
Serves 2-4 people. You can make steps 1-5 ahead of time.
– 2 medium onions
– 1/4 red bell pepper, grated
– 2 big tomatoes or 5-6 small whole tomatoes from a can
– 1 Tablespoon of cuttlefish or squid ink
– 1 Ib of squid (tubes and tentacles)
– 2 cups bomba, calasparra or arborio rice (if you can’t find either, use a high quality white rice). I use 1/2 cup per person.
– 1 quart of fish or seafood broth/stock. Homemade or the best quality you can find at the supermarket
– salt, pepper, and olive oil
– paella pan!
1) In a paella pan (larger skillet if you don’t have a paella pan), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the grated onion. Let it cook for about 3 minutes. Add the grated pepper. Let it cook until the onion is brown.
2) While you are waiting for the onion to get brown, slice the squid tubes (cuttlefish if you can find it!) into thin strips. Set it aside.
3) When the onion is ready, add the tomatoes, and mash them using a potato masher. You can also grate fresh tomatoes. Season and stir for about 3 minutes.
4) Add the squid, season and stir. The squid should take about 10 to 15 minutes to cook. Turn the heat off.
– If when cooking the squid, and you get liquid separating from the squid, remove it and add it to your fish/seafood stock. This will add a lot of good flavor.
5) With the heat off, add the rice. Stir and get everything incorporated together. Now, we want all the flavors to combine. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
– You can also make it in the morning and cover it with aluminum foil for the day. The longer you let it sit, the better.
6) Heat the fish broth with a tablespoon of cuttlefish ink. Stir constantly until the ink is mixed well with the liquid.
7) Put the paella pan back on the stove and heat on medium. Reserve 1/2 cup of the stock and set aside. (This will only be used if you need it for the rice.) Pour the remainder into the paella pan. Consistency of the rice is important. You don’t want to use too much stock, as you will overcook the rice. Too little stock and you will have crunchy rice.
8) Shake the pan every 5-7 minutes. Don’t stir. The black rice will be ready when the rice is cooked and there is no juice left in the pan. It takes about 20 to 25 minutes.
Yay! It’s ready to serve.