Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Chocolate meat balls? Albondigas de choco - cuttlefish balls

Though I've spent years researching (yes, thats one way of putting it...) the selection in Andalusian tapas bars, occasionally even I'm in for a surprise. In Cadiz I kept bumping into albondigas de choco, which I was immediately intrigued by. Albondigas we all know - the blog has recipes for traditional Spanish tapas meat balls and for a version pimped with chorizo. But choco? Chocolate? Chocolate meat balls? Seriously?


Turned out choco means cuttlefish, which is something that's being fished and consumed in Cadiz a lot. Just look at the selection at the fish market... And if there's something I love even me than chocolate, it is any member of the octopus family. Dios mios - these dreamily light and flully balls are probably the best thing I brought back from my trip. Just try them - they'll melt in your mouth!

Makes 30 balls

Albondigas de choco - cuttlefish balls:

500 g cuttlefish 
1 smallish onion
2 garlic cloves
handful of chopped parsley
1,5 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 eggs
9 tbsp bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

(Plus flour for dredging, optional)

For frying: 1 dl oil

The sauce:

1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2,5 dl whte wine
5 dl good fish stock
1 bay leaf
pinch of saffron

Clean the cuttlefish if needed. Rinse and drain thoroughl. Cut into smaller pieces and measure into  a food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Blizz until you have a smooth mixture (it's ok to leave some rougher bits). Avoid the temptation to add more bread crumbs to get a more solid texture as that easily results in dry and hard balls. And that's something we don't want...

Let the mixture rest in cold for half an hour. 

Roll into 30 balls (the mixture is a little loose, but don't worry - that's just what we want!) and dredge them in flour, shaking off the excess. This part is optional, but it does help thicken the sauce, too. Fry them in oil until golden brown and transfer aside. 

Add remaining onion and garlic into the oil left from frying the balls. Sauté util their soft and translucent but don't let them brown. Pour in white wine and bring to boil. Let boil for 5 minutes and then add fish stock, saffron and bay leaf. Check the taste and season as needed. 

Let boiluntil it thickens. Then add the balls, lower the heat and let simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

Serve. With some chilled Verdejo and dreams of Andalusian sun...






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