Sunday, 23 September 2007

Squid Paella

I don't often see fresh (and nice-looking fresh) squid on sale, but when I do I usually buy it. Having squid on hand as well as a bit of risotto rice in the cupboard presented me with an obvious answer: squid risotto. I checked my cookbooks and found a nice looking twist on a risotto, a squid paella using risotto rice from Neil Parry that has some appropriate Spanish-sounding touches to it. The main way the paella differs from the risotto is in the stirring; risottos should be almost constantly stirred, where paella's should just cook down until the rice is tender and the liquid gone, which (hopefully) forms a nice crusty bottom on the paella. Hopefully, this isn't a radical enough departure from a risotto that it disqualifies me from the Risotto Relay held over at the Baker and the Curry Maker.

I had hoped to salvage some black ink from the squid to make the dish enchantingly gothic, but hardly any ink came out when I cleaned them. I was tempted to use black food coloring for the effect, but that temptation lasted for only a handful of seconds before I decided it wasn't Halloween and I wasn't a child, and I should just let nature have its way.

The squid was very tender since it had been braised in all that liquid for a good amount of time, and I thought leaving the risotto rice to boil down in the liquid rather than constantly stirring it worked really well. I had cooked a pot-full of chicken pieces to come up with all the stock for the rice, and wound up mixing in some of the shredded chicken from that since I do like my protein and it made the venture more tasty. Sadly, it didn't form a crunchy crust as the recipe hinted at (I used a large frying pan rather than risotto pan but don't think this made the difference), but it was an easy enough dish to make that I intend to try again until I get that crunch.

Squid Ink Paella, adapted from Neil Parry

  • 450 g/1lb paella or risotto rice
  • Olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • sea salt
  • 8 small squid tubes, cleaned and cut into rings
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp smoky hot paprika
  • 2 Tbs squid ink
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 5-7 C chicken stock
  • 1 C shredded chicken (optional)
  • 4 Tbs chopped parlsey (optional)
  1. Heat a large paella pan or large frying pan, along with a good dash of olive oil
  2. Add onion, garlic, and a bit of sea salt and cook for a couple of minutes
  3. Add squid, stirring occasionally and cooking for 3-4 minutes
  4. Add chili flakes, paprika, squid ink, and tomato paste, and stir
  5. When mixed, add rice and chicken stock at the same time
  6. Stir and bring to a simmer, and leave to cook for around 25 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated, taking care not to stir while cooking (My note: I added only 5 cups of liquid due to the size of my pan, and still needed to cook for around 30 minutes; the rice was perfect, though)
  7. Remove pan from heat and cover with towel, allowing to sit for 5 minutes
  8. Sprinkle with parsely and a bit of pepper, and some of the shredded chicken. Serve so that everyone gets a bit of crunchy crust (if you're lucky to get that result!)
  9. Optional: Neil Parry recommends serving this with aioli.

1 comment:

Anh said...

Such a beautiful recipe! I just read your post about going to Moro. I think their cookbook #1 has a similar recipe, too!