Monday, January 10, 2011

Squid and fennel with squid ink pasta

Rings of gold

In Venice there is an annual tradition which dates back a thousand years in which the Doge would every year throw a gold ring into the lagoon to symbolise the city's Unique relationship to the sea, in fact, its metaphorical marriage to the sea. Of course Venice is unique, its a city in the middle of a sea, built upon thousands and thousands of wooden poles driven into the lagoon mud. It shouldn't really exist but it does, and that is what gives the whole place its magical and otherworldly atmosphere.

This extra special relationship the Venetians have to the sea carries through to their food of course, and this dish is inspired by some squid ink pasta with black squid in sauce that I ate at a restaurant called Ai Beccofico in campo Santa Stefano in December. Apparently it is a signature dish of Venice, where Colm and I went for a few days holiday. Though it was my third visit, it felt like a different place without the hoards of summertime tourists. Despite it being FREEZING, It was my favorite visit as the city was amazingly quiet and at times swathed in freezing but very picturesque fog. It was great to see actual Venetians going about their daily business, including buying fish from the mind blowing selection at the Rialto Fish market, where I shopped for our dinner. Self catering is great sometimes!

I bought this squid from an asian fishmonger in Dublin town. It looked so pretty that in my excitement I forgot to ask the fishmonger to clean and skin the squid! I learned the hard way that squid have weird cartilage bones that look exactly like the clear plastic from a biro! I couldnt find squid ink anywhere, but I did manage to get the black squid ink pasta from Fallon and Byrne. Im sure Little Italy in Smithfield or any good Italian Deli would also be able to oblige

Ingredients, serves 3-4

2 squid, cleaned & skinned
1 large bulb of fennel
3 shallotts
2 cloves garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 glass white wine
1 handful flat leaf parsley
Black pasta made with squid ink
Parmesan cheese

Start by chopping the squid into rings and separating the tentacles ready to be cooked. Then chop shallots and garlic and cooking them in some olive oil in a frying pan. Add the chopped fennel and cover the whole thing with a lid to soften the vegetables. Cook for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, put your pasta on to cook. When your pasta is almost done, add the squid to the fennel and onion in a medium hot pan and fry very quickly, about 2 minutes only. Then add the white wine and lemon juice and bring it up to a simmer for 1 minute, stiring continuously. Drain the pasta and throw it into the pan with the squid and fennel. Mix it around, throw in a handful of chopped parsley and serve with the parmesan cheese and some sprigs of the fennel leaf that sometimes escapes the chop!


Travel Food Phil said...

Great recipe! Venice is so much nicer in the winter with less people, I agree.

L said...

Thanks Phil! Yes I love it there, Ive been having Venice withdrawal since getting home! December in venice is pretty special.

Lu said...

mmmm this was yummy - really nice unusual colour combination too

Sarah said...