Thursday, December 25, 2008

Squid Risotto with Chili and Coriander

Squid needs to be cooked either very quickly or very slowly. Here the squid is marinated in lime and kiwi fruit - a popular method in New Zealand for tenderizing squid. Recipe serves 3-4.


1 pound (500 g) squid
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil
1/2 ounce (15 g) butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely sliced
1 1/2 cups risotto rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups simmering fish stock
2 tablespoons chopped fresh coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the Marinade:
2 ripe kiwi fruit, chopped and mashed
1 fresh red chili, seeded and finely sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice


1. If not already cleaned, prepare the squid by cutting off the tentacles at the base and pulling to remove the quill. Discard the quill and intestines, if necessary, and pull away the thin outer skin. Rinse the body and cut into thin strips; cut the tentacles into short pieces, discarding the beak and eyes.
2. Mash the kiwi fruit for the marinade in a bowl, then stir in the chili and lime juice. Add the squid, stirring to coat all the strips in the mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, cover with clear film and set aside in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight.
3. Drain the squid. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the strips, in batches if necessary, for about 30-60 seconds over a high heat. It is important that the squid cooks very quickly. Transfer the cooked squid to a plate and set aside. Do not worry if some of the marinade clings to the squid, but if too much juice accumulates in the pan, pour this into a jug and add more olive oil when cooking the next batch, so that the squid fries rather than simmers. Reserve the accumulated juices in a jug.
4. Heat the remaining oil with the butter in a large saucepan and gently fry the onion and garlic for 5-6 minutes until soft. Add the sliced chili to the saucepan and fry for 1 minute more.
5. Add the rice. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until the rice is coated with oil and is slightly translucent, then stir in the wine until it has been absorbed.
6. Gradually add the hot stock and the reserved cooking liquid from the squid, a large spoonful at a time, stirring the rice constantly and waiting until each quantity of stock has been absorbed before adding the next.
7. When the rice is about three-quarters cooked, stir in the squid and continue cooking the risotto until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender, but retains a bit of "bite". Stir in the chopped coriander, cover with the lid or a dish towel, and leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Tip: Although fish stock underlines the flavor of the squid, a light chicken or vegetable stock would also work well in this recipe.

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