Friday, November 12, 2010

Calamares en Su Tinta (Squid in Ink Sauce)

This dish I believe originated somewhere in Northern Spain the Basque name for it is "Txipiroiak bere tintan", squid is stewed in a rich savory black sauce until very tender and often served over white rice with some fried potatoes or salad.

My version of the sauce has the holy trinity of Cuban cooking/ what we call "sofrito" which is also shared with Spanish Cuisine it's onion, garlic, bell pepper sometimes with the addition of tomato all cooked down in olive oil and some dry white wine.

Cuban cuisine also shares this dish, however to most Cubans squid in ink sauce is usually bought canned already prepared, eaten straight with rice, but very often the canned squid in ink is used to make a mixed rice dish in which you cook and steam rice together with a sofrito to kick it up, some spices and add teh cans of squid in ink sauce, resulting in a black to dark grey mixed rice dish.

This is the first time I make the dish from scratch, I usually just buy it canned, and I have had many failed attempts but have now been successful after watching many videos on extracting the squid ink, however many people usually have packets or jars of squid ink that are sold at some specialty stores, they just add a couple tablespoonfuls to the sauce and it's done, however be warned when doing from scratch it isn't hard but is very time consuming.

-1 1/2 lbs of whole fresh small squid
-1/2 onion minced
-1/2 green bell pepper minced
-2 cloves garlic finely minced
-1/2 cup tomato sauce or 1 fresh grated tomato
-1/4 cup dry white wine
-water (enough to barely cover the squid)
-salt to taste
-ground black pepper to taste (optional)
(1) To extract the ink there is a ink sac inside the body when you yank out the internal part of the body by pulling it down from it's head, it's a silver sac, remove it with your hand gently, and place it in a bowl intact, then to extract more ink this sounds gross but carefully stab the baby squid in the eye and drain the black ink from it's eye. Repeat the process, set aside in a small bowl, add a little salt, a good drizzle of olive oil, and mash with a fork, spoon or mortar to a thick black sauce. Set aside
(2) Now finish cleaning your squid, remove the see-through bone from it, the outer skin, cut into rings and wash several times, discard the heads and save the tentacles wash well too. Then pat- dry and set aside.

(3) Heat extra- virgin olive oil on medium high heat, add you squid, stir it will release a lot of liquid crank the heat up to high and stir occasionally until all the water evaporates.
(4) Meanwhile chop your onion, bell pepper, and garlic, and have your tomato ready. When all the water evaporates lower heat to medium high and add onion, bell pepper, and garlic cook down for about 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally, add tomato and cook down 5 minutes.
(5) Add the squid ink stir well, when it comes to a bubble add dry white wine, bring to a boil, add enough water to barely cover, taste it and add salt and pepper to taste bring to a boil then lower heat and simmer on low heat covered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until very tender.
Serve over rice
*This doesn't make a very large portion once you have cleaned all the squid and everything you end up with about 4 small to medium portions I recommend you make 3 lbs. next time I make this I will use 3 lbs./ double the recipe

Helpful tips:
I learned to extract the ink watchin this video

and also the technique for using it in cooking from "El Cocinero Andaluz"

and for those unclear about cleaning squid you may benefit from watching this video with "Maangchi" :)