With cuttlefish ink, once you go black you cannot go back. Today I made fried baby black balls also known as arancini di riso nero de seppia. I seasoned the ink risotto with a dashi stock base. Chef David Chang of Momofuku catapulted this basic Japanese stock into stardom. Every chef is now all sweaty for the fish cardboard sawdust known as katsubushi. It adds a deep almost smoky fish flavor to a stock. I would almost call it bacon of the sea.
Embarking on an umami binge, I folded grated pecorino romano into the dashi based risotto. Ignore folks who ban mixing cheese with seafood. I then stuffed the risotto balls with a variety of fillings; mozzarella, uni, smoked white fish. Mozzarella because it is a classic. Uni was for decadence which I later regretted because it was simply too rich. Finally I chose smoked white fish because I am a closet Jew. The panko breadcrumbs added an extra crunch, contrasting nicely with the melted gooey mozzarella cheese.
- 4 Cups Ink Risotto
- 1 cup grated pecorino romano
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 cup Japanese panko breadcrumbs
- Mozzarella ball
- Smoked white fish
- Fold pecorino romano cheese into ink risotto. Make sure that the mixture sticks.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Form risotto patties on palm of hand and fill center with a variety of stuffings. Chef’s choice.
- Shape into balls.
- Chill balls in freezer for ease of handling latter during the drying process.
- Season flour with 1/2 Tbsp salt.
- Place egg wash, flour and panko breadcrumbs in separate plates.
- To coat with batter, dip each risotto ball in flour, egg wash and panko breadcrumbs, following this strict sequence.
- Heat oil in fryer.
- Deep fry each ball until crust turns golden brown.
- Serve immediately while hot.