Bulgur risotto with cuttlefish (squid) fish ink and calamari.
To know me is to know that I love seafood. I love it all. I love the flavor, the smell, and the trips to the fish market to pick out my own fresh pieces. All of it. I grew up on an island and fresh fish was a huge part of my regular diet. I love the range of fish species available, the quickness in food prep and the limitless pairings around it. I love adding that fishy flavor to rice and pasta dishes and testing it out with my fave bulgur was something I couldn’t wait to try.
The BLACK AF part of this recipe comes from cuttlefish (squid) ink. Recently I splurged at one of my favorite online gourmet food stores Alma Gourmet where I purchased some delectable treats – Persian saffron, cuttlefish ink, Squid Ink Fettuccine Campofilone, risotto rice and Salsa Tartufata (Truffle Sauce). Squid ink or “Nero di Seppia” is found in squids, octopi and of course the cuttlefish. The ink from all of these range from black and brown to dark blue. It is full of flavor and has a salty profile that is perfect for rice and pasta dishes. I will one day venture into retrieving my own squid ink from one of my many fish market trips, but for now we’re taking the quick route to deliciousness and using prepackaged squid ink.
I am West Indian, but I am not the biggest fan of rice, (don’t throw tomatoes save them for my pasta sauce recipe) that is where bulgur comes in. Bulgur is a grain in the wheat family, it has a nutty taste and has a similar texture to rice. It comes in a wide range of grain sizes and it cooks in about 15 minutes. See my post about teriyaki chicken with coconut bulgur here (https://palatearchitect.com/2020/05/19/chicken-teriyaki-with-coconut-bulgur-and-sauteed-spicy-bok-choy-2/)
This recipe for cuttlefish ink bulgur with calamari, is pretty simple. Don’t be afraid to purchase your own fresh calamari from your local fish market. The calamari pieces are already cleaned, all you will have to do is remove the spine which easily slips out. We are not battering and frying this calamari.
1 squid sliced into 1/2” rings
2 cups precooked bulgur (2 cups boiling water for 1 cup bulgur)
1/2 medium onion minced
1 bulb of garlic minced
1 pinch of saffron (this is expensive AF and is not a must for this recipe) when I say I pinch I do mean an itsty bitsy tiny a** pinch.
Red pepper flakes to taste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
3 bay leaves
2 tsp cuttlefish ink
Salt to taste if necessary
1 lemon for zesting
Parsley for garnish
Fresh shaved or grated Parmesan
Pour some olive oil into a skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and cook until transparent. Add the saffron, garlic and red pepper flakes, mix. Brown the onions and garlic for a few minutes until clear. Add the squid and bay leaves along with the white wine. Cook the alcohol for a few minutes and reduce the heat. Add the water, bring it to a quick boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cuttlefish ink, bring to a quick boil, lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 more minutes. The squid should be tender after cooking for 20 minutes. Add the cooked bulgur and coat it well in the cuttlefish sauce. Turn off the heat.
Plate the risotto in a wide low pasta bowl. Zest the lemon and mince the parsley, sprinkle it generously as a garnish. This dish should be served hot.
I love a risotto because although it takes some effort to execute, it is filling AND it is a version of rice that I can really get behind. Cuttlefish ink is an expense, but I think treating yourself through food is an indulgence I will always support!
I didn’t have anything in my closet to recreate this look, but I recently did a post on Palate Architect’s Instagram page with an Art Installation piece by @PlantConnection and a look by @PRADA; a single-breasted duchess-satin coat from their FALL 2018 READY-TO-WEAR. See post below.