If we were to write a list of flagship dishes of Basque cuisine, forgetting about squid in its ink would be considered a mortal sin from Somorrostro to Hondarribia. the black sauce like the coal in which these little squids swim, rich in onion, green pepper and tomato, it is one of the most peculiar of Spanish gastronomy, and whoever is scared by its darkness does not know what they are missing.
The txipis They have a reputation for being laborious, but if you get them cleaned at the fishmonger, they don’t require much more effort than a little patience. Our recipe is committed to classicism, with a few small twists to intensify the pleasure: we add onion to the legs in the filling, brown the bodies of the squid before adding them to the sauce, and finish it off with a dash of chocolate (a cutting-edge trick that, of course, for some reason, my mother and my aunt Mari practiced in the year of polka).
for 4 people
- About 20 medium cuttlefish with their tentacles and fins, gut, feathers, eyes and beak clean
- 150g tomato sauce
- 4 large onions
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 green pepper
- 100 ml of fish broth or water
- 150 ml of txakoli or dry white wine
- 100ml brandy
- 2 envelopes of squid ink
- 1 small piece of dark chocolate (about 10 g)
- Olive oil
- Chop an onion and a half. Sauté it in a wide casserole over medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir occasionally.
- While it is cooking, chop the rest of the onion, garlic and pepper.
- Chop the tentacles and fins of the squid, and add them to the onion in the casserole. Increase the heat to medium high and cook until the water is gone from the tentacles and the onion is soft.
- Remove the tentacles, fins and onion to a deep plate and let them cool down a bit.
- Put the onions, the pepper and the garlic in the casserole with a little more oil and a pinch of salt, and let them cook over medium-low heat, stirring from time to time.
- Fill the squid with the tentacles, the fins and their onion.
- Heat a large skillet over high heat. When it is very hot, sauté the baby squid in batches, for half a minute on each side, without stirring them too much, and gradually remove them to a deep plate.
- Deglaze the pan by adding a good splash of brandy and scraping the bottom a bit with a wooden spatula or spoon. Add the liquid to the onion and bell pepper.
- Add the wine to these vegetables. When it no longer smells of alcohol, add the fried tomato and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Moisten with the fish broth or the water and the ink, stir and cook gently for another 15 minutes.
- Blend the sauce with a potato mill or blender and return it to the casserole along with the cuttlefish and the liquid they have released. Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes until very tender.
- Off the heat, add the chopped chocolate. Stir or shake the casserole gently so that it melts and integrates into the sauce.
- Correct the point of salt and serve with white rice or fried or toasted bread.
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