Arròs Negre

Black rice is beautiful and yet unusual looking and due to its black colour permits you to create a symphony of flavour without compromising the dish aesthetically.

I had it first in Barcelona, then Rome, and in between in Duesseldorf and other places.

I did see a documentary about southern Spain, and there was a supremely nice looking Alicante version of the food with a bounty of seafood, even though the original recipe comes only with cuttlefish.

There is also inspiration from a southern Italian fish soup with octopus and squid as base, and white fish and shell fish added at the end.

Here I have been stingy with salt as the dish is full of flavour, and have avoided over-killing with saffron for the rest of the ingredients to have  a chance of participating in the taste.

 

Ingredients:

  • 300 gm risotto rice IMG_0531.JPG
  • 1 medium size squid
  • 1 medium sized octopus
  • 250 gm of muscle
  • 250 gm of sustainably fished cod
  • 3-4 medium large prawns
  • 150 gm of large green muscles
  • 1 lemon. zest it and put it the zest aside.
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • orange
  • squid ink
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 medium sized onion, finely chopped.
  • 250 ml of dry cooking white wine
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • fish stock
  • 2 medium sized tomatoes, grated.
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced

How to Make it: 

I am not gonna on and on about how to clean and cut the fish. There are plenty of videos in youtube explaining how to clean octopus and squid. I focus on how to cook it.

Preparing the octopus

  • After cleaning and washing the octopus, first beat it a little bit and not to harshly with a meat hammer to tenderize.
  • Bring water to boil in a pot that the octopus can fit in whole.
  • Wash the octopus under cold water.
  • Hold the octopus with the thong and blanch it in the hot water 3-5 time, each time keeping it for about 3 seconds. each time the tentacles curl a bit more. Honestly I am not sure if this helps with tenderizing. It takes no time and I have not risked making my octopus rubbery.
  • Then put the octopus in the simmering water and let it simmer for 45-60 minutes. The meat is ready when point of the knife can poke in it without any resistance.
  • Take the octopus out and wash under cold water but preserve the liquid.
  • Return the octopus to the pot with warm water in it.

IMG_0534.JPG

Preparing the rest of the fishIMG_0535.JPG

  • put 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and let it heat up.
  • drop a few strands of saffron into the oil. one by one fry the fish, squid rings, and prawn for about two mites each. in the last 30 seconds of frying each one add a pinch of lemon zest to it.
  • Boil the muscles for 3 minutes until they open.
  • remove the meat from half of the muscles so the final dish does not become just shells; the other half remain in shells to decorate the dish.

Cooking the rice

  • fry the onion in olive oil in an iron skillet for 3 minutes and then add  garlic, a pinch of saffron and the rice for another 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the wine, sugar, and fish stock along with the octopus (chopped), and squid and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Pour in the tomato (grated) and simmer for another 5 until the liquid is reduced.
  • Add the ink and let the rice simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Squeez a little bit lemon and even less orange and taste. Add more if it needs it.
  • Continue to simmer and occasionally stir until the liquid evaporates while the rice remains juicy.
  • add the rest of the ingredients minus the prawns and mix together.
  • Serve the dish and place the prawn on top.
  • Enjoy your mealIMG_0546 (1)
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