THE SPANIARDS LOVE THEIR MEATBALLS OR ALBÓNDIGAS. THEY ARE A REGULAR HOME MEAL, BUT ALSO APPEAR ON THE MENUS OF THE MOST RUSTIC OF BARS AND WELL-REGARDED RESTAURANTS ALIKE. A MERE MOUTHFUL, THEY ARE ALWAYS MOIST, JUICY AND FLAVOURSOME. LUNCHING ONE DAY AT ONE OF MADRID’S WELL-KNOWN MODERN RESTAURANTS, ANDRÉS MADRIGAL’S ALBOROQUE, I WAS SERVED THE MOST STUNNING DISH. HE HAD BROUGHT TOGETHER THE CLASSIC COMBINATION OF CUTTLEFISH AND BROAD BEANS, WHICH ARE TRADITIONALLY BRAISED, AND HE USED THEM TO MAKE ALBÓNDIGAS WITH SMALL PIECES OF CUTTLEFISH EMBEDDED IN A LIGHT FLAVOURSOME MOUSSE THAT WAS SET BY POACHING.
Finely chop one-third of the cuttlefish hoods and half the garlic, then place in a bowl with the parsley, mint and a pinch of salt. Mix well.
Cut the remaining cuttlefish into
Thinly slice the remaining garlic, then heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté for 2–3 minutes, or until the onion is beginning to soften. Add the saffron and stir for 1 minute, then reduce the heat to low. Add the sliced garlic and bay leaves and cook for 10 minutes, then add the wine. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add
Meanwhile, using damp hands, shape tablespoons of the cuttlefish mixture into balls, placing them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Once you have finished rolling them, carefully place the balls in the sauce mixture and simmer over very low heat for 45 minutes, turning occasionally.
Add the broad beans to the sauce mixture and simmer for another 5 minutes. Check the seasoning and serve hot, with plenty of crusty bread to soak up the sauce.
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