Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Globe-cooking recipe : Cuttlefish-ink Paella (Spain)

Cuttlefish-ink and squid-ink are things that I have often seen contestants using on Masterchef but that never appealed to me. Who wants to eat black food? I don't even like licorice ! Blackberries and blackcurrants are perfectly acceptable but black rice and pasta? I'm not convinced ! It was therefore with some trepidation that I read the recipe card for Cuttlefish-ink Paella in my Spanish-themed Kitchen Trotter box. I wasn't at all sure that we'd like it but the whole point of signing up for the box was to discover new and unusual recipes - some of the ones that we've tried in the past that I was convinced wouldn't work have turned into family faves. (The South African Bobotie springs to mind - apricot jam in curried mince really shouldn't work but it's delicious !) In for a penny in for a pound, time to be brave and give it a try !

 Cuttlefish-ink Paella

ingredients :

150ml olive oil
500g white fish 
500g squid
500g king prawns (optional)
2 spring onions (or 2 onions)
red, yellow, green peppers (optional)
400g paella rice
2 doses of cuttlefish ink
fish stock
850ml water
1tsp paprika

The original recipe called for squid and white fish (monkfish)- I used smoked halibut instead and added some king prawns for extra colour and flavour.

I also decided to add some red and yellow peppers and substituted onions for spring onions because I couldn't find any at the supermarket. I chopped all these up and started off by gently frying them in some of the olive oil. (If using spring onions, they don't need to be cooked so just chop them up and sprinkle them over the finished dish.)

 Add all the fish, squid and prawns and continue cooking for a few minutes. (As I was using cooked king prawns and smoked fish, this was extremely quick to heat through but if using raw fish or seafood, make sure you increase the cooking time for it to be perfectly cooked through.)

This was my first time using proper paella rice, which is shorter and rounder than basmati rice. (That's what I usually use though and it works perfectly well.)

Push the fish and vegetables to the sides of the pan, add the rest of the olive oil and put the rice in the middle. Cook for a couple of minutes until the rice goes translucent.

I used a Knorr Fish stock pot so I just plopped it straight into the pan. If using granules, mix it up with some of the water before adding it to the pan.

Add the water (or the remaining water if you've already put water in your fish stock). Mix everything up.

Eek, time to investigate the cuttlefish ink.

It looks like thick black tar !

The moment of no return !

Give it all a good stir for the ink to permeate everything and leave to bubble away for 10-15 minutes for the water to be absorbed and the rice to cook. (If you run out of water before the rice is totally cooked, turn off the heat, pop on a lid and let it finish cooking in the steam.)

Now I have to admit, I thought it looked a bit dodgy at this stage, but tastewise, it was very nice indeed. I'm not sure the cuttlefish ink actually added much flavourwise, but it certainly turned the meal into a showstopper !

Link up your recipe of the week

Linking up with the Spain round-up on Bloggers Around The World

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Globe-cooking recipe : Gazpacho Ajo Blanco (Spain)


  1. Have always wanted to try this but have never had the courage. I cook a lot of ristotto's so might give it a go! x

    1. I'm the same, I really wasn't sure, but it is very nice !

  2. Yay, well done you! I love squid ink pasta, always buy a pack or two in the airport on the way back whenever we visit Italy. I think it gives a real depth of flavour.

  3. that looks very strange, I will have to take your word for it on the flavour.

  4. It's always great to try something new, looks fab :) #recipeoftheweek

  5. I love paella, and this does look delicious! x #RecipeoftheWeek

  6. That looks great! I noticed cuttlefish ink dishes on the menu a few times in Italy - black food really does look intriguing! Thanks for linking up to #recipeoftheweek - I have pinned and tweeted this post and there's a fresh linky live at 6pm :)

  7. Lovely dish. I think I have to try to make paella myself soon.

    1. I think the yellow version looks more appetising than the black one ! :)