Thursday, July 19, 2018

Black Ink Risotto with Baby Squid | 香濃墨汁魷魚意大利飯 | Risotto al Nero di Seppia

The last time I have ever come close to dismembering any animal parts was most likely back in grade school, when I had to pair up in teams and dissect a leggy, lifeless frog and a gruesomely gelatinous bull's eye in biology lab. Yes, the murky bovine eyeball stared listlessly at me as our surgical knife drew close to its retina. The rest was a blur. Not that I fainted, just that the surgical knives never landed on my hands as far as I could remember.

I can't say it was a momentously life-changing experience, nor am I particularly squeamish when it comes to handling (non-living) animal parts. So when chance comes for me - as I stand before a friendly fishmonger at the wet market - to choose whether or not to have her gut out some baby squids, I decide to take the matter into my own hands.

After all, this is my chance to get to understand these fascinating underwater creatures deeper and, if anything, to appreciate the precious creatures that provide us food.

If you have never cleaned a squid before, I strongly encourage you to give it a try! Not only is it much easier than it looks, you will also get to harvest the ink sac and make the most out of each squid.

When German cookware brand Fissler invited me to design a one-pot seafood recipe specially tailored for their Vitavit® series pressure cooker, my mind hustled to come up with a type of seafood that could withstand intense steam pressure. The squid, cuttlefish, and the octopus come to mind - cephalopods that are best either flash cooked or slow-braised till tender, lest they turn into rubber.

Squids are excellent slow-braised and in stews, and are well-suited for pressure-cooking!
Cleaning squid is easy, fun... and can get inky!
So, can squid be cooked in a pressure cooker? The answer is yes! It can even conveniently pair up with risotto all in one pot to create a version of the Venetian classic, Risotto al Nero di Seppia - or squid ink risotto. Given just 8 minutes and some time to rest, the squid becomes remarkably tender and infuses the rice with intense flavor. In just a snap, dinner's ready!

The addition of squid ink adds extraordinary complexity, a rich brininess, and a luscious, moody hue to the dish. Squid ink (interchangeable with cuttlefish ink) often comes in jars or sachets and are sold at a premium in Italian and Spanish specialty stores and gourmet markets. You could also harvest your own from the squids you clean; though the smaller the squid, the less ink it carries, and you may find yourself burning daylight to salvage the fragile little ink sacs for a trivial amount of ink enough to only turn rice into a dirty grey. For more drastic flavor and color, you may be better off to purchase ink (speaking from personal experience). Finally, though adding tomatoes is optional, I find a little tomato paste helps give acidity and balances out the brininess of the risotto.

All done in one pot, without the need to ladle stock over and over!
Step by step: how to clean squids
With the thumb and index finger of one hand grasping right above the eyes, gently detach and pull the mantle away with the other hand, discarding the entrails and reserving the silvery ink sac if desired. Remove the quill located inside the mantle and rinse the tube thoroughly. With a sharp knife, severe the tentacles right underneath the eyes. Remove the beak by giving the base of the tentacles a squeeze and an inedible cartilage will pop out. Using a pair of kitchen sheers, snip the two extra long tentacles and reserve (optional).
Keeping the skin on will retain the natural purple

What you'll need... (2-3 persons)
300 g fresh squid (5-6 small squids)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (200 g) Arborio rice
3/4 cup white wine
1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon squid ink, or more if desired
2 cups (470 ml) fish or chicken stock, heated
Micro-greens or chopped fresh parsley, for garnishing

1. Clean the squids and reserve ink sacs if desired, or have the fishmonger clean them for you. Snip the extra long tentacles off and mince, set aside.

2. Melt butter on medium heat and add olive oil to the base of the pressure cooker. Saute onion until softened, about one minute, then stir in garlic and saute briefly. Add rice and stir continuously until rice is evenly coated in oil and toasted but not browned, about 3 minutes. Rice grains should start to appear translucent around the edges. Add minced tentacles and stir to combine.

Open and stir: the rice will absorb any remaining stock
3.  Add wine and cook, stirring, until the raw alcohol smell has cooked off and wine has almost fully evaporated. Stir in tomato paste, squid ink, and any ink from reserved ink sacs. Pour in stock and add squid. Then, on medium-high heat, fasten the pressure cooker lid and set the cooking display with traffic light function on level II. Reduce heat to low and set timer for 8 minutes once the green ring becomes visible.

5. When time is up, set the cooker aside to cool until fully depressurized, about 8-10 minutes. Unfasten the lid and lift carefully away from yourself. Give the rice a stir and allow it to absorb any remaining liquids. Plate and garnish with chopped fresh parsley or a handful of micro-greens. Serve immediately. Buon appetito!

【 香濃墨汁魷魚意大利飯 】

充滿夏日海洋氣息的墨汁意大利飯... 味道非筆「墨」所能形容!

材料( 2-3 人份量 )
本食譜為 Fissler 壓力煲特別設計
鮮魷魚仔             300 克(約 5-6 隻)
牛油                     15 克
橄欖油                 1 湯匙
洋蔥                      1 小個(切粒)
蒜頭                      2瓣(切粒)
意大利米             200 克
白酒                      180 毫升
蕃茄膏                 半 湯匙
墨魚汁                 1 茶匙
魚湯或雞湯        470 毫升,煮熱

1. 準備及洗淨魷魚。將較長的兩條觸鬚剪掉並將其剁碎備用。
2. 燒熱壓力煲後下牛油和橄欖油,放入洋蔥,用中火炒約 1 分半鐘至軟身,加入蒜蓉炒香,再放入米並炒勻至米粒稍顯透明。拌入剁碎了的魷魚鬚。
3. 加入白酒,炒勻至白酒完全被吸收。加入蕃茄膏和墨魚汁,拌勻。加入熱高湯,蓋上高速鍋蓋,調校至 2 速,用中火煲至見綠環後轉慢火,計時 8 分鐘後熄火。
4. 待指示燈降至原位,約 8-10 分鐘後開蓋。輕輕攪拌意大利飯,飯粒會自然把剩餘的水份完全吸收掉,做成濃稠綿糯、幼滑如絲的質感。最後,用蕃茜裝飾即成!

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