Apologies for my absence over the last few days, but I have just returned from a jaunt around Venice with The Girl. As you might expect in that City of Dreams (and lover-ly Murano Glass) we had a wonderful time and even managed to squeeze in a few Dry Martinis and Bellinis at Harry's Bar.
I can also whole-heartedly recommend the Ristorante Corte Sconta (Calle del Pestrin 3886), where the thinly sliced and marinated tuna was to die for. A local dish that seemed to crop up again and again, was Seppie in Tecia Col Nero, otherwise known as Squid cooked in its own Black Ink. Here's a genuine version of the thing taken from Arrigo Cipriani's Harry's Bar Cook Book. It's all a bit gothic and when you're cooking it, the black ink goes everywhere and stains everything, so be warned.
Buy or catch your squid. Pull the head and body of the squid apart. Cut off the tentacles below the eyes. Remove the silvery ink sacs on either side of the innards and discard the rest. Pull out the bone from the body and chuck it out. Rinse the prepared squid under the tap, and peel off the pink skin. Cut the body and tentacles into pieces.
Heat some olive oil in a hot pan and add a chopped celery rib, chopped onion and a crushed garlic clove. Fry until soft. Next add some plum tomatoes, and the squid, and toss for a few minutes, turning the heat to high. Add a cup or so of dry white wine, and some chopped basil and parsley, and let it all bubble away for a few minutes.
Take the ink sacs (which you have kept back), and force the black ink into the pan, little by little, until you have a rich black sauce. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for about an hour or so, until the squid is soft. If the sauce dries out, add some fish stock. That's it. Serve with polenta, and a bottle of Prosecco on ice. Prosecco is the regional sparkling wine of the Veneto, and it's amazing value for money. I'm planning to stock up on the stuff in bulk. And as an added bonus, here's an arty photograph I took of a party of Japanese schoolgirls outside Florian's Cafe.