Grilled Cuttlefish, Eggplant with Salsa Piccante

In Australia, cuttlefish have mostly been used as bait or for aquaculture feed. Sure, you’ll see them occasionally on restaurant menus and at the fish market, but this cephalopod is seen mostly as a poor cousin to it’s famous relative, the squid or calamari.
Cuttlefish flesh is thicker than calamari, and coarser grained so it can take a little more cooking and is ideal braised, in a soup or a curry. It seems to work well with robust flavours so there’s no need to worry about overpowering it.

But, think of this all you calamari lovers, they put chemicals with the calamari to soften the flesh, and what are you eating!

Cuttlefish contain an ink sac and the ink contained within was used in early photography to attain the distinctive sepia tone. This ink is also a delicacy used to colour and flavour all manner of dishes from risotto to pasta.

In Venice, cuttlefish are cleaned and sliced and fried gently in a pot with chopped onion and parsley, chopped ripe tomato is then added as well as a teaspoon of cuttlefish ink. It is then simmered slowly for an hour or so, seasoned with salt and pepper and served with polenta.

Cuttlefish goes with

Extra virgin olive oil, butter, garlic, onions, chilli, soy and XO sauce, balsamic vinegar, fish sauce, ginger, shallots, spring onions, lime, lemon, tomato, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, asparagus, beans, fennel, olives, capers, parsley, basil, coriander, most lettuces and leaves, especially roquette, watercress and radicchio, mayonnaise.

Ingredients

500gr ripe tomatoes

juice of half a lemon

1 chilli chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

good handful chopped basil leaves

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium sized eggplant

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for frying

salt

250 gr cuttlefish, cleaned

 

Method

Peel and seed tomatoes and chop them roughly into 1cm pieces. Place in a bow, and add the lemon juice, chopped chilli, minced garlic clove and chopped basil leaves. Season, add extra virgin olive oil, stir well and allow to sit for 1 hour.

Meanwhile cut up the medium sized eggplant into 2cm cubes. Heat 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on a grill or pan and fry eggplant until they have browned and softened. Season with salt and allow to cool.

Cut cleaned cuttlefish into 4cm square tiles, heat 2tbsp of extra virgin olive oil on a skillet and fry the cuttlefish tiles on high heat until they become golden. Serve on the salsa with the eggplant scattered over.

 

Serves four.

RENT MY BRAIN…THE SOLUTION

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