Cuttlefish Ink Risotto with Calamari, Tomato Concassé, Shichimi & Parsley

There was this dish at work that I wanted to eat but I never got the chance to have the entire dish because my days off are the same days when the restaurant is closed. So I kind of recreated it at home. It doesn’t have the sea urchin on it because I can’t splurge on a tray of fresh sea urchin on myself… with company yes but I would feel so gluttonous if I ate the entire tray alone.

I have some grated cheese in my seafood risottos. I don’t understand the taboo about not putting cheese with seafood. It works for me and I think it helps to bind the rice together.

Serves 2.

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[Calamari from Connecticut, Cuttlefish Ink from Spain]

For the Tomato Concassé

  • 2 onions, finely diced
  • 5 plum tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
  • 3 thyme sprigs, picked without the thick stems
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Boil a pot of water that can fit the tomatoes. Core out tomatoes and make an “X” with a paring knife on the top of each tomato. Have a bowl of ice water on hand. Once water is boiling, cook tomatoes for 30 seconds and immediately place in ice water.

Once tomatoes are cooled, remove from ice water bath and peel skin off. Remove seeds and insides of tomato. Dice tomato into small cubes and set aside.

In a sauté pan and on low-medium heat, add enough olive oil to coat the pan. Sweat the onions, tomatoes, garlic, thyme for 30 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Cool and set aside.

For the Calamari

  • 1 lb calamari, tubes and tentacles
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Shichimi
  • Lemon juice

Clean/rinse the tubes and cut into thin strips. Save one third for garnishing and the rest for cooking within the risotto (below).

For the garnish, sauté/broil the calamari and season with salt, pepper, shichimi, and lemon juice. Keep warm and set aside.

For the Risotto

  • 1½ quarts fish stock
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • ¾ cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • Reserved cut calamari strips and tentacles
  • 1 TBS cuttlefish ink
  • Salt
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan, for grating
  • Parsley, finely chopped

The fish stock should be hot/simmering before adding into the cooking pan for the risotto.

In a pan on medium-low heat, heat the olive oil. Sweat the onions until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is almost al dente. Add in two-thirds of the tomato concassé into the rice. Then add in the reserved calamari and season lightly with salt. When the calamari is cooked, add in the ink and fully incorporate ink into rice.

Before rice is finished and taken off heat, grate in some parmesan cheese and taste/adjust for seasoning.

TO ASSEMBLE

Scoop hot rice into bowl, garnish with sautéed/broiled calamari, remaining tomato concassé, and parsley.

Quail with Glutinous Rice, Chinese Sausage, Dried Shiitake & Spiced Black Currant Ximénez Reduction

This was the second course to my 5-course Friendsgiving party for 6 people. I decided to go with two quails per person again. They’re such tiny birds and one per person is just not enough because Thanksgiving is all about being gluttonous, right? Also, I was going to stuff the quail but I allowed the quails to rest too long after being seared so it was impossible to open them. Don’t make my mistake!

Serves 6.

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[100% organic]

For the Brine

  • 1 cup salt
  • 4 quarts water
  • 8 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup black peppercorns
  • 12 quails

Bring everything to a boil and cool down immediately. Using a cake tester or sharp paring knife, stab quails, then submerge quails in this brine for 6 hours in the fridge.

Once the 6 hours are up, drain and pat dry.

For the Sauce

  • 2 cups black currant juice
  • 2 TBS brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 bottle of Montegrato Pedro Ximénez vinegar

Reduce all ingredients nine-tenths of the way. Take out spices. Allow to cool and place in a squeeze bottle.

For the Stuffing

  • 2 cups glutinous rice (ratio: 2½ cups water)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-inch ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 Chinese sausages, cubed
  • 6 dried shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted, diced
  • 1 TBS brown sugar
  • Salt, as needed
  • Soy sauce, as needed
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced

Cook rice in rice cooker.

Sauté garlic, ginger, and scallions with sausages and mushrooms. Add brown sugar, and season with salt. Turn off heat and add in cooked rice. Add soy sauce and taste for seasoning. Keep rice stuffing warm in rice cooker.

For the Quail

  • 12 brined quail
  • Salt, as needed
  • Oil, for searing
  • Black currant juice, reduced
  • Celery ribbons (I forgot)

Once the quails are patted dry, sear quail well on both sides for color. Stuff the quail and finish in the oven at 450°F. Glaze quails with reduced black currant juice. Peel celery ribbons in iced water and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

Squeeze sauce on plate, prop 2 stuffed quails on celery ribbons, and squeeze more sauce over quail. Garnish with micro greens.

Update: Cantonese Fried Rice with Dried Scallops & Chinese Broccoli

瑶柱蛋白炒饭

I’m still in the very glacial process of updating my posts from the earlier years of this blog. My mom sent me some dried scallops from Hong Kong and what’s my favorite thing to cook with dried scallops? Cantonese fried rice!!! It’s so delicious! It’s one of the many things I must eat during the first few days of going back to Hong Kong.

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[100% organic, dried scallops from Hong Kong]

For the Rice

  • 4 cups rice (jasmine/kokuho)
  • Salt
  • Canola oil

Cook the rice and set aside to cool, then refrigerate it. Rice must be cold when making fried rice.

For the Dried Scallops

  • 6 medium dried scallops (soaked in water for at least 8 hours)
  • 4 scallions
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • ¼ tsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • Reserved soaking liquid
  • Canola oil

Using your fingers, pull apart the soaked scallops and reserve the soaking water.

Finely chop the scallions and set aside. Thinly slice the ginger and set aside.

In a hot pan, add the canola oil. When oil is hot, stir-fry the dried scallops shreds. The scallops will jump out of the pan, put them back into the pan. Add in brown sugar, dark soy sauce, ginger, scallions, and a few drops of the reserved soaking liquid. Cook for 2-3 minutes and remove from heat. Place scallops in a sieve and drain off excess liquid. Reserve scallops, keep warm, and set aside.

For the Chinese Broccoli

  • 1 bundle Chinese broccoli
  • 1-inch piece ginger
  • Salt
  • Reserved soaking liquid
  • Canola oil

Clean Chinese broccoli, remove leaves and thin stems. Using only the thick stalks/stems, slice them into thin rounds or use a mandolin. Thinly slice ginger and set aside.

In a hot pan, add a few drops of canola oil. Add ginger and stir-fry Chinese broccoli until al dente. Season lightly with salt and add some reserved soaking liquid so that the vegetables don’t burn. Remove from heat. Place Chinese broccoli stems in a sieve and drain off excess liquid. Reserve, keep warm, and set aside.

For the Egg Whites

  • 5 egg whites
  • Salt
  • Canola oil

Lightly beat the whites with a pinch of salt. In a non-stick pan, add a little of canola oil. Cook whites for 1-2 minutes then remove from pan.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a large non-stick pan on low heat, add enough canola oil to cover the base of the pan. Add in cold rice and break rice apart into loose pieces. Once slightly warm, add in dried scallops, Chinese broccoli, and egg whites. Season with salt and occasionally toss and turn. Adjust salt content to your liking and serve immediately.

Seared Shrimp with Savory Coconut Risotto

I loved the savory coconut risotto that I did during my New Year’s Day Dinner so much!!! It hasn’t even been that long yet and I’m craving for it again! When I was in bed, writing my ingredients list, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go the lump crab meat + mango or shrimp + pineapple set. Ultimately, I love eating shrimp. It’s one of my staple foods.

At Whole Foods, I bought mango but I completely forgot about it. Damn.

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[100% organic, gulf shrimp]

For the Coconut Risotto recipe, click here.

Seafood Medley with Seared Coconut Risotto Cake

This was the third course to my 6-course New Year’s Day Dinner party for 8 people.

I love sauce making. Love it! And this sauce was particularly “TO DIE FOR!”

I wasn’t entirely happy with the plating because by this time, it was getting late and the pick-up time for this dish was already taking a long time. I was hungry and I was sure my friends were too. I wished I had planned out the plating for this dish more.

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For the Risotto Cake

  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 1½ cup Arborio rice
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups dashi stock, or as needed
  • One 13.5 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

In a pan on medium-low heat, heat the olive oil. Sweat the shallots until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is almost al dente. Add in coconut milk and continue cooking until rice is done and mixture if fairly dry.

Season the risotto and pour out onto a half-sheet pan and refrigerate until thoroughly cooled.

For the Seafood Medley

  • 2 lbs shrimp, with head and shells
  • 16 scallops
  • 2 lbs mussels, cleaned and beards removed
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 3 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Remove heads and shell shrimp. Peel shrimp until the last segment of the tail and the tail itself. Place heads and shells in a bowl, set aside. Devein shrimp and set aside, either over ice or back in the refrigerator.

Get a pan very hot and throw in mussels, butter, shallots, parsley, and bay leaf. Cover the pan with a lid and shake the pan over the heat vigorously. Add in white wine and simmer until mussels open up, 3-4 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Mussels will be halfway cooked. You’ll finish cooking the mussels when the sauce is ready.

Strain the mussel liquor and set aside. Remove each mussel from its shell and set aside, either over ice or in the refrigerator. Discard shells, unless you want to plate mussels in their shells.

For the Shrimp/Mussel Sauce

  • Reserved shrimp heads and shells, from above
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 onions
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 TBS brandy
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 garlic head, cut horizontally
  • 2 tarragon sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 TBS black peppercorns
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 7 oz. diced tomatoes
  • Reserved mussel jus
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

In a Dutch oven or very large pot, heat canola oil until smoking hot. Add in shrimp heads and shells and develop a deep orange color, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Then sauté mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) until there is some color. Add in tomato paste and cook it thoroughly. Flambé with brandy then deglaze with white wine.

Add in diced tomatoes, garlic head, tarragon, bay leaves, peppercorns, and thyme, along with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil then simmer for 1 hour. Strain and discard solids. Continue to reduce and reduce until you have around 2 cups of sauce. Add in reserved mussel jus and taste for seasoning. Adjust for seasoning and set aside, keep warm.

For the Finish

  • Risotto
  • Reserved mussels
  • 16 scallops
  • Reserved shrimp, deveined
  • AP flour, as needed
  • Butter, as needed
  • Tarragon, as needed, finely chopped
  • Parsley, as needed, finely chopped
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • Lemon wedges

When the risotto has cooled and solidified, punch out eight 2-inch risotto rounds. Brown/sear the risotto round on both sides in a non-stick pan and transfer to a tray. Flash in a 500°F oven before plating.

Make a beurre manié and add it to the sauce until you are satisfied with the consistency. The sauce shouldn’t be too thick. I added just a small pinch of beurre manié. Add mussels to sauce and keep sauce on simmering-heat. As you sear the rest of the seafood, the mussels will be done.

Sear both shrimp and scallops, separately, with salt and pepper. Squeeze some lemon juice over cooked shrimp and scallop, keep warm and set aside.

TO ASSEMBLE

Place risotto cake in the center of the plate. Arrange 2 scallops and shrimp (4-6 pieces) around. Top with spoonful of sauce and mussels. Sprinkle freshly chopped tarragon and parsley over everything and serve immediately.

Squid Ink Risotto with Seared Sea Scallops, Calamari & Cherrystone Clams, Pistachio Cilantro Quenelle, and a Saffron Dashi Velouté

This dish totally didn’t turn out the way that I had planned but as Tim Gunn says on Project Runway, “Make it work!” I made it work.

My original plan failed because of my crappy food processor. I’m still using the same one when I was back in Texas. It’s so small and the plastic pieces keep on breaking and the speed is quite weak… I also wanted calamari tentacles but at Whole Foods, they only had the tubes. Anyway, the final product was quite delicious.

[100% organic, wild sea scallops, calamari from Thailand, clams from USA]

For the Risotto

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup Arborio rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 6 cups dashi stock
  • 2 TBS squid ink
  • ¼ cup parmesan, freshly grated
  • Salt & pepper

Heat up the stock and keep simmering at low heat. In a pan on medium-low heat, melt the butter and heat up the olive oil. Sweat the garlic and shallots and sweat until translucent. Stir in the rice and make sure the butter and oil fully coats the rice. Cook until the ends of the rice are transparent, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Then add in the wine and cook until completely absorbed and the alcohol has evaporated.

Add 1 cup of the hot stock mixture and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the bottom of the pan is almost dry. Adding ½ cup stock at a time, stir until almost all the liquid has been absorbed between each addition. Be careful not to let the bottom of the pan dry out. Continue to stir often, and repeat until the rice is al dente, about 20-30 minutes. Before adding the last addition of stock, stir in the squid ink.

When risotto is done, season with salt and pepper. Then fold in the grated cheese and combine well. Adjust seasoning and keep warm.

For the Pistachio Cilantro Quenelles

  • ¼ cup pistachios
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves, and extra for ganish
  • 2 TBS miso
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • Salt & pepper

The miso already has a lot of salt in it so be mindful of when you season. Put everything into the food processor and blend until desired consistency. Remove and set aside.

For the Calamari

  • 3 calamari tubes
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & pepper

Slice the tubes into rings. Sauté the calamari for 1-2 minutes and season with salt and pepper. Drain from pan and keep warm.

For the Clams & Velouté

  • 2 cups dashi stock
  • Pinch saffron threads
  • 4 Cherrystone clams
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 2 TBS AP flour
  • Salt

If you have remaining dashi stock from the risotto, add that to the 2 cups for the velouté. Place the saffron into warm dashi stock and let it infuse for 15 minutes. Season lightly with salt. Add in the clams and bring to a slow simmer. Once the clams have fully opened, they are ready.

Remove clams from shells and keep warm. Strain dashi through a strainer lined with cheesecloth and into another pot. Slowly whisk in the butter and flour, to make the roux, and once sauce as thickened, adjust for seasoning and keep warm.

For the Scallops

  • 4 colossal sea scallops
  • Canola oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Heat a pan over high heat and add in enough canola oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Before you add in the scallops, you should see the tiniest bit of smoke. Season scallops with salt and pepper. Once you put the scallops into the pan, DO NOT MOVE THEM and turn heat to medium. Cook scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side, depending on how big your scallops are.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a ring mold, pack the risotto. Top with the calamari rings and clams. Place scallops on the plate, drizzle velouté over scallops and top of risotto and calamari. Using two spoons, make quenelles from the pistachio cilantro mixture.

Sushi Ceviche

I couldn’t come up with a better name than Sushi Ceviche because this is really a pure fusion plate of food. Using Japanese ingredients of a simple salmon avocado roll, but the cooking style of making ceviche.

[100% organic, Norway farmed salmon]

For the Sushi Rice

  • ¼ cup sushi rice
  • 1 TBS rice vinegar
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Soak the rice for ten minutes and cook the rice. Don’t over cook it because you want to see the individual grains. Cool the rice at room temperature and mix in the seasonings, then set aside.

For the Ceviche

  • ½ lb salmon
  • ½ red onion
  • ½ cherry bomb pepper
  • 1 lime, juiced

Cut the salmon into medium dice. Thinly slice the red onion and pepper and set in a bowl. Add the lime juice and toss the salmon in it. Refrigerate and marinate for 10 minutes, depending on how thick/big/small your salmon pieces are.

For the Finish

  • 1 Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
  • ½ avocado, cut into wedges
  • ½ mango, diced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Nori sheet

Cut nori into thin strips. Toss avocado wedges in lemon juice, right before assembling.

Strain the ceviche, discard juices but reserve red onion and chili pepper slices.

TO ASSEMBLE

Arrange cucumbers in a circular pattern on the plate. In a ring mold, pack the rice on the bottom, over the cucumbers. Place the avocado wedges along the rim and pack the ceviche into the center. Top with nori strips and scatter mango dice around plate.

*Adapted from From Buenos Aires to Paris.