09 Aug2006

negro1

I did it! I did it! I finally cooked an Arroz Negro or Black Paella that turned out right. Still a bit on the dark grey side (but now I know how much bottled squid ink to put) but negro2with superb flavor and just the right amount of “stuff” — that means a LOT of “stuff”… Regular readers will know that I have struggled with Arroz Negro before and in my quest to do an all-natural one, I have failed miserably on the color front. The first time I tried it, some Spanish diplomats were our guests and they were polite and all but clearly I felt I had missed the mark. I tried it a second time using reader comments to guide me but it still came out grey though it tasted good. It just so happens that the same Spanish diplomats, who are by now good friends, were again our unplanned guests to lunch last Sunday when I decided a third attempt at Arroz Negro. This third attempt I was armed with a massive bottle of squid ink to bolster previous color issues… Everything worked brilliantly, and I would have rated this a 9.25/10.00 paella; definitely a keeper recipe.

Carefully prepare all of your ingredients before you start your charcoal fire. First, make about 10-12 cups of fish stock as described in the previous post. I find this step essential and critical to the right flavor of the final product. Next, chop up 1-2 white onions, and julienne some fresh red capsicum or pimientos. While this dish is traditionally made with just squid, I like to go over the top on “toppings” not only because it looks and tastes good, but I want this to be a complete meal… Throw in a nice green salad and it is perfect lunchtime fare at the beach. Prepare negro3some medium sized prawns (I used ½ kilo), ½ kilo of small squid, 1 kilo of alimango or alimasag (crabs), some good clams if you have them and I have even used small lobsters before (but not in this latest version). In a small saucepan, place a half cup of the fish broth and add about 3-4 tablespoons of bottled squid ink or natural ink if you can gauge the right amount confidently and stir, then set aside… Start a nice hot fire, place your paellera on the grill, add 4-5 tablespoons or more of olive oil, saute the onions, add a kilo of bomba rice or paella rice from the Callasparra region of Spain, add the diluted squid ink and mix rapidly until the rice is coated but not burned (all of these first steps happen in less than 3 minutes) and add about 10 cups of fish broth and stir. Adjust the ink at this point if you think you want it blacker. But don’t overdo the ink as it is quite salty and can overpower, rather than balance, the flavors.

Try to distribute the rice grains evenly on the pan and stop stirring it. Add salt to taste though sometimes the ink is salty enough. Add the crab pieces then five minutes later negro4add the squid, shrimp, clams, etc. Add sliced peppers on top of the paella. Cover and let simmer for a total of about 23-25 minutes from start to finish. Add some broth if it looks like it is drying out too fast. You know it’s done if the rice is puffed and grains from the top have a soft to medium firm bite. You can take it off the flames and cover with newspaper to steam it another 10 minutes before serving. You MUST serve this with an aioli. You can make a garlic mayonnaise from scratch or in a pinch, doctor some commercial mayonnaise by popping it into a mini food processor, adding chopped garlic, some lemon juice and a little olive oil and salt and blitz it till mixed. Bring the paella to the table, decorate with lemon wedges and advise your guests to take heaping spoonfuls of the rice and seafood, then mix in aioli and lemon juice and listen to the ooohs and aaahs, sit back and enjoy a wonderful, delicious Arroz Negro with aioli!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Maria Clara says:

    It looks divine! Thank you for sharing your success in making Black Paella. It is one of the things I like about your website; you share everything with us whether it is a success or a missed one. I find it tacky when I’m invited to an occasion or no occasion at all and ask my host or hostess for a recipe. I compliment them but I do not go beyond that. If they said, the food was from a restaurant or caterer; I would get their name and phone number. I will not make an incessant request for the recipe.

    Aug 9, 2006 | 4:02 am

     
  2. Jean says:

    MM, this looks awesome! I just gotta try this recipe. Hopefully I can locate the squid ink at our market…

    Aug 9, 2006 | 4:35 am

     
  3. Bay_leaf says:

    Yummm, looks good, MM. It’s nearing the midnight hour here, i’m getting hungry just looking at your pictures!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 5:09 am

     
  4. Apicio says:

    You know I had an inkling it was going to be this when you mentioned you were looking for smallish squid in addition to the kilo of crab and shrimps and when the fish stock came along I was almost sure.

    Aug 9, 2006 | 5:59 am

     
  5. sha says:

    wow this is lipari specialty (cant have shelled food aboard…) havent really tried this myself…

    but perhaps when i get back to my own kitchen again and when i do have time to go to the market once again (not work this time butmy own pleasure)

    as for aioli the swiss cheese makes the best ;-)

    lovely to read yr page am too out of the loop with my fellow foodies but i cant complain am reading your post from porto cervo,sardignia….

    Aug 9, 2006 | 7:26 am

     
  6. Gigi says:

    Yummy, MM! I love it!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 8:07 am

     
  7. linda says:

    This looks and sounds divine! A definitely” must try”” recipe.
    Thanks MM, and have a good day!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 9:03 am

     
  8. fabian says:

    nice! I remember reading that post you were frustrated about the color! But you forgot to mention what your Spanish diplomat friends said about the dish you made this time! :)

    Aug 9, 2006 | 9:38 am

     
  9. Christine says:

    YUM! I’m drooling ~~

    Aug 9, 2006 | 9:39 am

     
  10. lee says:

    the teeth! the teeth!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 9:57 am

     
  11. Marketman says:

    The Spanish diplomats gave it two thumbs up and had seconds, one even had thirds, I think. And we also served them another Spanish dish with noodles that I will post soon!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 9:59 am

     
  12. ichabod says:

    It looks fabulous! Congrats, you finally licked it! I cant wait to try this recipe! I can imagine all your Spanish friends giving you their black toothy grins as they ate.

    Aug 9, 2006 | 11:16 am

     
  13. anonymous paul says:

    this is my favorite type of paella. i never care if i look like i just bit into my pen; i’ll eat it no questions! and i love picking at the crusty bottom. one of the best parts of the dish!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 12:20 pm

     
  14. joey says:

    It looks absolutely perfect and I’m sure it tasted amazing as well…especially with all the shellfish to go with it! The first time I ever ate this dish was in Barcelona and I remember them giving me a little dish of alioli to go with it…I have never looked back since :) Perfect combination!

    Oh please please say that your Spanish dish with noodles is fideua!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 2:52 pm

     
  15. millet says:

    wow…cngratulations! marketman does it again! the paella looks super. am in surigao city this week, where the market is awash in crabs and shrimp and lobsters and squid, but it’s all work here, no chance to cook….sayang!

    Aug 9, 2006 | 4:22 pm

     
  16. Zita says:

    MM,

    So what did the guest say about the paella?

    Aug 10, 2006 | 9:06 am

     
  17. izang says:

    where can i get a paellera? does it always have to be cooked over charcoals?

    Aug 10, 2006 | 12:44 pm

     
  18. Marketman says:

    Zita, the guests loved it. Joey, you guessed it, post on fideua up already. Izang, you can buy a paellera at Spanish food stores, I think there is one on Jupiter in Makati and Terry’s in Podium basement sells them too. You can do a paella in an oven too.

    Aug 10, 2006 | 1:06 pm

     
  19. Mae says:

    Fantastic! Kudos to the chef!

    The photo’s left me drooling… oh, hunger pangs!

    Aug 10, 2006 | 6:22 pm

     
  20. kulasa says:

    Finally! Congratulations. Knowing that you will further improve on this dish, I’ll be waiting for that next post.

    Aug 12, 2006 | 10:34 am

     
  21. mgr says:

    Congratulations on your latest endeavor! Remember to add the fish broth “hot” so as not to stop the cooking of the rice for great texture. Looks great!

    Aug 12, 2006 | 1:29 pm

     
  22. Marketman says:

    mgr, yup, the fish broth, freshly made came off the stove at a simmer before going into the paella… Thanks, everyone, I feel like I just passed my 12th grade exams…

    Aug 12, 2006 | 4:14 pm

     
  23. goodtimer says:

    Fabulous this time MM! Though I must say the first time you put out your arroz negra photos already had me in a frenetic quest for the perfect black paella recipe. MM, do coax mgr for her husbands quick but really flavorful black paella recipe. I tried it this evening for a pot-luck party and was amazed at the simplicity of preparation, but must-have ingredients: black ink sachets, pimenton, saffron, bomba rice, parsley and lots of green peppers produced such a heavenly aroma and flavor. mgr, i hope you wont mind– hey im cooking it again this sunday!

    Aug 18, 2006 | 1:27 am

     
 

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