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Black is not a colour I'd normally see on my plate unless of course it is black pudding! Indeed, it can be hard to get over the colour barrier that a dominant black presents in a dish. And so it was with some trepidation that I screwed the cap off a small jar I bought the summer before last in a small town, Getaria, on the beautiful coast of North West Spain.
The label said, Salsa de Chipiron, and the gooey contents were pure black. Translated the ingredients and it read: Onion, Olive Oil, Water, Tomato, Squid Ink, salt and spices. But what to do with it? Squid ink is widely used (though not in Ireland) with pasta, noodles, rice and also with the squid itself, with cuttlefish and scallops.
But this was late on a Saturday afternoon and a bit late to be wandering down town. So, we had to make do with what was in the cupboard. No fish but we did have fresh chorizo from Gubbeen and some pasta, enough to make a starter. Enough to be going on with. Soon the pasta was cooking and then came the transformation when the contents of the jar were added.
Some cut tomatoes were thrown in and the moment of truth soon followed and it was fine, really fine. The chorizo soaked up the ink and were hardly visible among the general blackness but you knew for sure when you bit into one. Overall, the flavour was very pleasant indeed, not at all fishy, and the spicy explosions of the chorizo rings enhanced the whole thing.
So, if you ever find yourself on the Basque coast, in either Getaria or Hondarribia, be sure and call into the shop of the family owned cannery Salanort. They also sell anchovies, bobito, tuna, octopus, sardines, and indeed some very good examples of the local wine, the very dry Txakoli.
After. Chorizo (centre left) well coated
Had to have a bit of colour after that and it is provided by the classic bacon and cabbage. The loin of bacon came from the local Dunne’s Stores, a fine piece by Truly Irish. The cabbage and potato cakes (a mix of normal and sweet) added to the colour and the enjoyment.