How did it get black? It’s made with squid ink. This is another recipe from the traditional Spanish kitchen, often made as a “Black Paella” or just served over white rice. I love trying to master typical Spanish meals, and this is one I’ve gotten down to perfection. Personally, I think it’s amazing and incredibly flavorful. But, I can understand if some of you might be a little unsure about whether squid ink is something you want to try. This is one of those things you must try before you make a judgement. And I guarantee you will love it.
I’m not sure how easy squid ink is to get your hands on in the US, but probably a fish shop will at least know how to help you. Here in Spain, they sell it in packets in the frozen foods section.
Start by cleaning about 1 pound (500g) of squid. You can use large or small ones; I used frozen ones which I left overnight in the fridge to defrost. If you get whole ones, it’s important to remember to remove the “backbone”, which like of looks like a clear plastic strip that’s runs up the body. It’s pretty easy to remove (nothing like cleaning shrimp!). Then give them a rinse and slice them into 1/2 inch (1 cm) rings.
Next, saute one small onion chopped finely in about a tablespoon of olive oil. When the onions start to soften, either add one chopped tomato or 1/2 cup of tomato sauce. I opted today for tomato sauce because the tomatoes are pretty hard to come by right now (it’s been a looong winter). Anyway, keep sauteing until either the tomato is soft and breaking apart or the sauce has thickened.
Now, add 1/2 cup of white wine and 1 cup of boiling chicken or fish broth. Add the sliced squid and bring to a simmer. Then add 1 package of squid ink and stir until the ink has mixed with the liquids. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 30 minutes, until the squid are tender.
The last step is to add 1 cup of rice, 2 more cups of boiling chicken or fish broth, and one more package of ink. Keep the mixture simmering, uncovered now, until the rice is fully cooked. There should be some liquid left, as this is supposed to be a more soupy rice dish.
This makes four servings and you should serve it right away so that the heat from the pan doesn’t keep cooking it and absorbing the liquid. If you want to keep leftovers, put them into a tupperware right away.
I’m hoping that if no one else feels brave enough for squid ink, that at least my Dad will feel that this dish is less daunting and is inspired to make it!
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tomato chopped or 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 cups chicken or fish broth, boiling (divided)
- 1 lb (500g) squid, cleaned and sliced into 1/2 inch (1 cm) rings
- 2 packages of squid ink, 4 grams each
- 1 cup rice, rinsed