I got my hands on some fresh, free and cleaned calamari. Hooray dirty job already done! I wanted to do em good and make something worthy. Hmm arroz negro? I’ve had arroz negro at AOC and absolutely love it. It’s a Spanish rice dish made with squid and squid ink and topped with aioli.
While I was trying to look up recipes on the web I realized I would need to get Spanish rice. I thought about substituting risotto rice (after all I had arborio, carnaroli and vialone nano in my pantry). Driving all over LA during traffic (there is always traffic) on Sunday is not my idea of a relaxing weekend. But I am trying to do a better job of oh I don’t know, being a better cook perhaps?
So I hauled ass and drove all over town. Here is how my Sunday went…
The only place I knew for sure that had Bomba rice was Spain Restaurant in Silverlake. By Silverlake I mean right at the entry of the 2, so practically in Glendale. And far. On the way though I purchased a fresh coconut stuck with a straw from a street vendor. It was the perfect thirst quencher on a warm day.
So I got to Spain and got my $10 1 kg bag of rice and headed off to Surfas. Of course I missed my turn and ended up on the frickin confusing and dangerous intersection of freeway that lives in downtown. Anyhow I made it to Surfas finally to get the squid ink. There were a dollar a bag. Then off to Whole Foods on Fairfax and 3rd St to pick up ingredients I needed to make the fish stock. I was a warrior on Sunday. LA traffic and drivers are very trying but I was determined to get everything I needed and take no shortcuts.
Of course I got to Whole Foods and they didn’t have any fish bones because “it’s Sunday.” The fish guy recommended I used the bellfish they had in stock which was priced at $3.99 a pound. Okay sure, I’ve done enough driving around for a day. I didn’t want to go across the street to the farmer’s market and spend 40 minutes trying to find parking (yes this has actually happened to me before).
I found one reliable recipe online on this blog which is currently based in Spain. The recipe is from Penelope Cruz’s The Foods and Wines of Spain. I doubled the recipe and but used more squid ink because the rice didn’t look black enough. It just looked gray. But the dish is called black rice. I used a total of four packets.
I did a few things differently. First off I marinated the sliced squid with parsley and lemon zest. I would have added chile de arbol but my mom had used up all my chilies to make kimchi. I cooked the rice first separately then when it was done I scooped it into oven safe dishes and also one cast iron pan, topped it with the squid, and baked it off for about 10 minutes in a very hot oven a la AOC.
One very frustrating part of the evening was trying to make the damned aioli. I have a horrible track record with aioli making. I always try to make it in a bowl not a blender. If I’m going to make aioli it better be made with my own hands. But this didn’t happen. I tried twice and both times it broke. I think my arm just gets tired at some point and I start pouring in the oil in too fast. Two cups of expensive grapeseed oil wasted. Booo. I was successful once though a long time ago so I’m not a complete failure.
So I cheated and used mayo and added saffron and garlic. A squeeze of lemon and a spoonful of saffron aioli later I got to dig into my delicious dinner.