Croatian cuisine

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Thursday, June 29, 2006

Black risotto (Crni rižoto)

If you are looking for a recipe to impress seafood-loving guests, this is definitely one to try. This version of recipe is courtesy of Joso’s restaurant in Toronto, Canada, whose celebrity clientele raves about the black risotto served there. The owner, Joso Špralja, is a Croatian from Dalmatia who introduced the Canadian food-loving public and visiting Hollywood celebrities to this delectable dish! This is a highly prized and unusual dish!

1kg (2 lbs) fresh cuttlefish (also know as sepia, about 3 medium sized)
0,5kg (1 lb) fresh squid (about 2 medium sized)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs finely chopped parsley
salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
¼ cup dry red wine
1/24 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup arborio rice (short grained Italian rice)
1 Tbs olive oil (for rice)
lemon slices for garnish
parsley for garnish

To clean the cuttlefish: wash the cuttlefish under running water. Pat dry and then cut through the back of the cuttlefish using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife. Remove the insides, carefully separating the small ink sac and setting it aside. Discard the rest of the innards, also removing the hard white bone from the back. Next, cut the tentacles from the body and set aside. Squeeze out the chickpea sized, round, beak which will be protruding from the body and discard.

To clean the squid: gently pull the body and head apart. Clean the stomach of all of the entrails, and carefully remove the small ink sac and set it aside for later use. Remove and discard the transparent quill form the body sac. Wash the inside of the squid thoroughly under cold running water. Remember to squeeze out the beak and discard. Cut off the tentacles and set aside.

Next, slice the cuttlefish and squid into 1 inch strips, and then 2 inch cubes and then set aside. Chop tentacles and place in bowl with the rest of the seafood. In a small bowl break the ink sacs and scrape out the ink. Add a few s of water, and using a fork stir into a thick paste.

Heat a large, deep skillet with the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions and when soft, add all of the cuttlefish and squid (including tentacles). Cook until soft and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and parsley, stirring to combine. Pour in the wine, vinegar and then stir in the ink paste. Cook for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Rinse the rice, and then add it to the skillet along with the 1 Tbs of olive oil. Stir to coat the rice in oil and skillet juices and sauté for about 1 to 2 minutes. Then add enough hot water to cover the rice completely and cook uncovered until the rice is al dente, about 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. If the rice dries out, add another ½ cup of hot water (reduce the additions of water to ¼ cup after 20 minutes) and then stir-cook. Remember to stir well and always loosen the rice from the bottom of the pot so that it doesn’t stick.

Remove from heat when done and place on serving platter. Garnish by surrounding with sliced lemons and sprinkling additional parsley if so desired.

Black risotto may be served on its own with salad and crusty bread or it may accompany grilled fish or squid including calamari. Actually, it is sinfully delicious with any seafood!

• Some fishmongers will clean the cuttlefish and squid for you, just remember to ask them to reserve the ink sacs!
• Reduce the 1/3 cup of olive oil somewhat by using a non-stick skillet.


At Thu Jul 13, 05:56:00 PM 2006 , Blogger Bobby Griffin said...

Hi Tambura,

I greatly apologize for not getting your link up sooner. Normally, all the comments that are left for me are emailed to me, but for some reason yours wasn't. Or maybe my spam blocker picked it any case, thank you for catching my error and your link should be visible now.


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