86°F and 67% humidity. It’s not unbearably hot like other areas of Italy, but as long as the weekends shape up to these sort of numbers [86, 87, 88, 89…] we are happy to nix hiking in favor of bbq chicken, gelato and another chance at pasta in a bag. I still had an extra packet of squid ink that I had used for making those black goldfish dumplings the day before, so I took the plunge and figured spaghetti al nero di seppia (spaghetti with squid ink) over burning coals couldn’t possibly go wrong. You know, I love it when I’m so right.
The method of preparation is simple: undercook the pasta, drain, add to prepared cuttlefish sauce and bag it! Place on the outer edges of the grill to finish cooking for another 5 minutes or so – I’ll include the recipe under the corresponding photo below. The rest of the meal asks for some attention because grilling scallops in their shells demands a very close eye (pull them off when they’re slightly underdone as they’ll continue to cook in their juices). We had them with – get this – vanilla-infused sea salt that was utterly to die for! Halen Môn did a magical thing when coming up with the idea of tahitian vanilla beans and salt crystals. As one reviewer wrote, you have to try it to believe it. For a gourmet salt product, I am sold.
Colonel Sanders can take a hike. The mixed herb packet that came with this split chicken and a heavy dose of sweet paprika from the cupboard is my secret spice mix. Squeeze some lemon juice over while it’s cooking for a sassy tang.
I consider the addition of squid ink in food to be so groovy mediterranean that it baffles me as to why some people would be turned off by it. The flavor is not bitter, salty, or off-tasting in any way, and the “black teeth, black mouth” worry is a bunch of hogwash. Eat my squid.
Recipe – serves 2
I used frozen baby cuttlefish that were already cleaned, but you can also use calamari (squid)
10-12 ounces small cuttlefish, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 dried chile peppers, crumbled
1/4 cup white wine
1 packet squid ink (about 1/4 teaspoon, more if you prefer)
1 tablespoon butter
1/8 cup chopped italian parsley
1/8 cup sun-dried tomato cut into thin strips
8 ounces spaghetti
Begin by cooking the pasta in lighty salted boiling water for 7 minutes. While that’s on the fire, saute the garlic and chile pepper in a drizzle of olive oil until fragrant. Add the cuttlefish and cook until they begin to curl up. Immediately pour in the wine and add the squid ink. Stir to incorporate then add the butter and parsley. Remove from heat. Drain the pasta and add to the cuttlefish sauce along with the chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Combine thoroughly and divide between 2 foil sheets (I also line the interior of the foil with baking parchment). Bring up the edges and crimp well to secure. Place on the outer perimeter of the grill and finish cooking for another 5 minutes.
A few pinches of crunchy vanilla-infused sea salt (I know it looks like ciggie ash landed on it) is all it takes to turn plain scallops into this wildly exotic, dreaming-of-white-sand-polynesia taste experience.
This is really the ultimate dessert on a hot day. Throw on whatever you like while the coals are dying down. Pair with fresh berries and gelato or ice cream. We have a serious fruit fix which means several pounds each week to keep us sane.