Begi-haundi risotto

Risotto de Begi-haundi
Chef: Álvaro Garrido
Country: España
City: 48003 Bilbao (Vizcaya)
Address: Muelle Marzana, s/n
(+34) 944795938

Álvaro Garrido, with his restaurant Mina in Bilbao, has managed to move modern haute cuisine to a project that captures perfection in a new way of understanding the concept of restaurant: the least amount of infrastructure possible, the least amount of luxury, in short, the least amount of added value, but the greatest gastronomic offering. Maturity, clairvoyance, good taste… only a few of the virtues of a chef called upon to be number one, who has opted to prepare and serve only a tasting menu, an open tasting menu.
A superb example to illustrate what we said above is found in the begi-handi (Basque name for “baby squid”) risotto–a risotto without rice where the cephalopod, cut into miniscule cubes, substitutes for the grain, taking on an absolute protagonist’s role. It is immaculate, almost raw, only warm and thickened with a broth of the same mollusk that strengthens and accentuates the natural flavor and texture. A dish brimming with virtuosity, powerful flavors of squid and plenty of contrasts–acidic, sweet, spicy, refreshing, savory contrasts… offered by a delicate, intelligent inclusion in the recipe of elements such as lemon, ginger, basil, black olive, curry, salmon roe, salicornia, chives… brilliant. The baby squid is given all its splendor.

The Recipe

For 4 servings:
Preparation of the baby squid:
1 squid (approx 1 kg in weight)
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
1 leek
1 carrot
1.5 L mineral water
10 cl white wine
10 cl brandy
25 g kuzu or 50 g cornstarch

Clean the squid. Open it along the tube of the squid, clean well under running water and set the tentacles and clean head aside (without the eyes) to make the broth.
Remove the internal membrane and with a sharp knife remove the exterior membrane as well.
Cut the squid into uniform 1 cm cubes and set aside.
In a pan, sweat the onion, garlic, carrot and leek, all julienned, and add the tentacles and head cut into pieces. Brown lightly and add the wine, brandy and water. Cook for about a half an hour, then leave to sit for another hour. Finish by passing through a cheesecloth.
Once strained, adjust the salt and thicken with the kuzu or cornstarch.

Ginger confit:
400 g sliced ginger (use a meat slicer)
300 g sugar
1 L water
Blanch the ginger 3 times with three different pots of water, then make a syrup and cook the ginger in this until translucent.
Lemon confit:
1 kg lemons cut into slices then cubed
500 g sugar
2 L water

Blanch the lemon 5 times in different water, cook the lemon with the sugar and water until it has the texture of a compote almost and add lime syrup (Rives lime syrup) at the end.
Basil seeds:
5 g basil seeds
100 g passion fruit juice with 100 g water
Add the seeds to the water to soak them. Once soaked, mix with juice and set aside.

Other ingredients:

Horseradish for grating
Dehydrated black olive powder
Tandoori curry powder
Salmon roe
Cubed butter
2 tbsp olive oil with garlic
2 salicornia leaves per person
Chopped chives


Finish and presentation
This is a squid dish with distinctive nuances that preserves the strong flavor of the begi (calamari) in the cream, texture and flavor. The cubes are only just warm, preserving all the raw wonder of the mollusk.
All the elements have a purpose so that in each spoonful the guest encounters different nuances (acidic, sweet, savory).
In a pot, add the squid cubes, chives, a few cubes of butter and the olive oil then four tablespoons of squid cream and heat just until the butter melts and the oil thickens with the rest of the ingredients, stirring constantly as if it were a risotto. You only need to heat the cubes. If you overcook them they acquire a chewy texture.
Serve on a deep plate, sprinkled with curry and powdered black olives, encircle with the salmon roe and four dots of lemon compote. Place a slice of ginger confit in the center and a spoonful of citric basil seeds, along with a few pieces of salicornia.
Finish with grated horseradish as if it were parmesan cheese.