I had a post written and ready to go. Ready to go that is except that I needed a top quality rib joint to prepare, roast, photograph and serve to my review group (mother, wife, eldest & youngest daughters). Then all I had to do was add in the recipe bit and the photos to the meat of my writing, as it were. They were looking forward to something special. They are a loving bunch but to my personal chagrin they have got used to getting their own way on the food front…
It was early Saturday morning, nothing to do until a 10.00 am brunch appointment. Plenty of time. The plan was to do was the grocery shopping, call to George’s Fish Shop for fish then on to John’s Meat Co. for the beef. Nothing could go wrong. Could it?
07.45 – Finish morning cup of tea. Spring from bed and, with military precision, start the day.
08.30 – Grocery shopping done.
09.05 – Fish bought.
09.07 – Bemusement. John’s is shut. What’s going on? Not another victim of our economic woes? Is there a death in the family? Of course, no, not death or recession. It’s St. Patrick’s Day! That’s why they are shut. “No problem.” I think. I’ll go to Dun Laoghaire and get something appropriate down there.
09.18 – Park up the car and walk down Dun Laoghaire Main Street with a growing sense of foreboding. Nearly every shop including the butchers is shut. “No problem.” I declare with more bravado than I was feeling. I’ll go to the shopping centre and get the beef in Mick Doyle’s butcher.
09.26 – Panic rising. I look at the empty display cases in the unlit window of Doyle’s. “No problem…..”
09.33 – Back at the car. A family to feed. A beef blog written and nothing to substantiate or support my bovine prose. Thankfully, youngest daughter was with me. She cut through my befuddlement and ordered me back to the fish shop.
09.55 – Lisa, daughter of George and fish expert extraordinaire recommends the squid and some prawns. She pushes the meat free decision across the line by throwing in a couple of packets of squid ink. This facilitates Seafood Risotto with Squid, Prawns with Asparagus Spears. It’s not beef, but…
Here’s what you will need to feed 6
- 2 good-sized squid
- Half a kilo of uncooked prawns
- 1.25 litres of fish stock
- 1 tablespoon of tomato purée
- 2 packets of squid ink (I was going to try to get the ink sac out of the cephalopod but I failed miserably, ending up with black hands while I cleaned it.)
- 2 onions
- 400gm of risotto rice
- 2 or 3 cloves of garlic
- A glass of white wine (Whatever you will be serving with the dish.)
- Olive oil, salt and pepper.
Here’s what to do
Clean and prepare the squid. Oh, don’t be such a Jessie. It’s easy. First, pull out its backbone.
Put your hand inside and pull out all the guts, taking care not to burst the ink sac, like I did twice. Then peel off the outer skin. Take the membrane from the wings too. Clean it inside and out.
Take the tentacle bit (still attached to the innards) and squeeze the beak out. Yes, they have a beak. Remove any straggling membrane.
Cut the tentacles off just in front of the eyes. Cut the main tube into rings. Throw away the bits you don’t want to consider eating. You should be left with the tentacles, feelers (like very long tentacles), rings and wings.
Bring the stock to a simmer. Stir in the tomato puree and the ink. Chop the onions and half the garlic while the stock is warming. Sweat the onions and garlic over a low heat in your risotto pan. When they are translucent and not burnt, add the rice. Stir until well mixed.
Add the wine and stir until the mixture is gloopy and the wine is mostly absorbed. Add most of the squid, keeping some to fry with some of the prawns, in the remaining garlic.
Add a ladle of stock. Stir until the mixture is gloopy. Add another ladle of stock Stir until the mixture is gloopy again.
Repeat until the risotto is cooked. This should take about half an hour. Add most of the prawns, stir them in and put the lid on. Leave it for ten minutes or so.
The prawns will cook in that time. Taste. You are smart and will have timed the steaming of the asparagus to suit. You will also have fried off the remaining prawns and squid in olive oil and garlic, getting your timing right there too. Adjust the seasoning and serve to the hungry hoard.
This turned out wonderfully well. Lisa really saved the day. The review group gave their St. Patrick’s Day blessing to the meal. However, even St. Patrick should not stand between my girls and their beef. I need to hear a good excuse from John….