I’m back with a pretty decadent meal after what feels like a bit of a break from blogging. I’ve been eating very lean recently in an attempt to shed a bit of weight before I go on holiday and hit the beach in a few weeks. I’ve mostly been eating soup, plus the occasional salad and vegetable stew/curry. It’s been good, but I’ve not been creating any particularly extravagant culinary concoctions – nothing worth sharing. However, last weekend I took a trip down to see my family in Brighton and visited a really brilliant fishmonger on the beach to pick up sea bass for dinner. There they had little jars of squid ink – I excitedly purchased some knowing exactly the dinner I was going to prepare with it this weekend. I spent a whole soup-eating week thinking about it. I must confess I completely stole the idea for this recipe from my favourite local restaurant, the Camberwell Arms. I ate something extremely similar there a couple of months back and it was so divine I knew I had to recreate this sticky, salty, fishy dish. It’s surely the dictionary definition of ‘umami’. Bam!
This serves two, but you’ll end up with leftover aioli – never a bad thing.
You will need:
For the squid & inky rice-
1 large white onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
250g paella/Spanish rice
1300ml hot fish stock
1/2 cup white wine
1 tbspn squid ink
2 fresh squid, cleaned and slices into rings/bite-sized tentacle pieces
A little flat leaf parsley
For the aioli-
2 fresh egg yolks (from medium sized eggs)
1 tbspn white wine vinegar
175ml sunflower oil
75ml extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of saffron
2 crushed garlic cloves
Pinch of salt
4 sweet (orange/red/yellow )peppers
1 – Start by preheating your grill to it’s maximum temperature. Place the peppers under the grill until charred all over (turn them periodically to ensure they blacken all over, it will take around 20 minutes). Once blackened, remove from the grill and leave to cool slightly.
2 – Move on to the rice. Heat a little oil in a frying pan and add the onion once hot. Cook until softened then stir in the garlic. Cook for a few minutes then add the rice. Toast the rice slightly by cooking it for a couple of minutes, mixing well with the garlic and onion.
3 – Add the wine, ink and hot fish stock to the rice pan and simmer for 35 minutes or until the rice is cooked. Don’t stir the rice too much, it’s nice if a little crust forms underneath, but make sure you shake the pan every so often. Ensure the rice stays moist, adding extra liquid if need be.
4 – While the rice is cooking make the aioli. Beat together the yolks with the saffron, salt and vinegar. In a separate jug mix together the oils. Very slowly trickle the oil into the egg mix whilst beating constantly and furiously. This will hurt your arm a lot but don’t be tempted to pour in too much oil at once or the aioli will split.
5 – Set aside the aioli and peel/core the cooled peppers, then tear into rough strips. Set aside until serving or, if preferred, reheat these under a grill while you cook the squid.
6 – Heat some olive oil in a frying pan/griddle pan and once really hot add the squid. Fry for 30 seconds, toss then continue to fry for another 30 seconds or so until the squid is just cooked. Remove from the heat.
7 – Plate up your rice topped with the pepper flesh strips, aioli, squid and a little parsley. Serve immediately.