Squid ink on the menu

Squid ink – it’s a must-try in my opinion!

(Jamie Oliver’s crab and squid ink risotto, Jamie’s Italian, £13.50)

My first experience of trying squid ink was in a seafood linguine at a fine Italian restaurant in Guildford, Surrey named Cambio when I was 17. I was drawn to the colour palatte and was amazed that black food could be both tasty and beautiful. Cambio still offer a spaghetti neri (black spaghetti) with a lobster and prawn ragout on the menu, so it’s clearly a perennial favourite.

Squid ink is a highly prized cooking ingredient. Released from the squid as a defense mechanism, it seems like a rather unlikely choice, but apart from visually enhancing your cooking, it also adds a certain briney flavour to a dish. Nothing overpowering, but certainly a point of difference. Take Jamie’s Italian for example – he serves up a mean crab and squid ink risotto in his restaurants which I’ve enjoyed twice now – large portions too so it’s well worth the spend.

So where can you buy this delightful spciality for cooking yourself I hear you asking? Good question, as it’s certainly not a mainstream purchase. I’d recommend Selfridges foodhall – the mecca of all things foodie, your local Italian deli (if you have one) or alternatively a specialist online shop such as Melbury and Appleton, based in North London if you want to visit them yourself.

(Sepia spaghetti, 500g, Melbury&Appleton, £3.99)