Txipiroi Barrubeteak Bere Tintan

Cuttlefish in Rich Squid Ink Sauce

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • 6

    Raciones

Appears in

MoVida Rustica

By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2009

  • About

IT WAS A SPRING AFTERNOON AND WE HEADED TO A RESTAURANT JUST OUT OF SAN SEBASTIÁN LOOKING OUT OVER THE BEACH. WE WERE AMONG WELL-DRESSED FAMILIES IN A ROOM FILLED WITH SOFT LIGHT. CHILDREN WITH WET COMBED HAIR SAT WITH THEIR PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS. IT WAS VERY POLITE AND QUITE BEAUTIFUL. I WAS BROUGHT BACK TO MY SENSES, LITERALLY, BY THE SMELL OF A PLATE OF WHITE CUTTLEFISH IN BLACK SAUCE PLACED IN FRONT OF ME. I COULD SMELL THE SEA, SWEET ONIONS, BAY LEAVES, GARLIC, COOKED WINE — SENSATIONAL. SOFT PIECES OF BRAISED CUTTLEFISH SAT IN A RICH SAUCE OF ONIONS, WINE AND TOMATOES, TINTED BLACK WITH SQUID INK. NOT AN UNUSUAL COMBINATION, BUT IT’S THE WAY THE SAUCE IS COOKED THAT REALLY SETS THIS DISH APART.

Ingredients

  • 2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) cuttlefish
  • 140 ml (4½ fl oz) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 brown onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons squid ink (available from good delicatessens)
  • 7 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded (see glossary) and chopped
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) dry white wine

Method

To clean the cuttlefish, pull the tentacles out of the hood, cut off the tentacles just below the beaks and discard the top half. Remove the ‘wings’ and the skin from the hood, then cut the hoods in half lengthways.

Heat 80 ml ( fl oz/ cup) of the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Add the garlic, bay leaves and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium.

Add the squid ink and stir for 2 minutes, then add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low-medium, stir in the wine, then cover and cook for 30 minutes, or until the wine has cooked out and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over high heat until the oil is nearly smoking. Add half the cuttlefish hoods and tentacles, season to taste and cook for 1 minute, or until light golden. Turn, season again and cook for another minute, then remove from the pan. Reheat the pan over high heat and repeat with the remaining cuttlefish.

Add the cuttlefish to the squid ink sauce and bring to a simmer. Add 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) water, then cover and simmer for 45-60 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened and the cuttlefish is very tender.

Spoon the cuttlefish onto warm plates and spoon over a little sauce. Serve hot.