Finally events conspired to make cooking a Croatian ‘risotto’ at home possible – it is cuttlefish-fishing season now, and I made my first trip yesterday; I came by some risotto rice, surprisingly rare here in Japan; and I was reminded of all matters Croatian by recently reading Fitzroy Maclean and The Ionian Mission (“Dalmatia, by way of pudding you could call for spotted dick, give pieces of it to a spotted dog, and throw the remains to the spotted eagles…Jack laughed until tears came into his eyes” &c). It is not often cuttlefish I catch survive past the first few dishes of sashimi, devilled livers or tenpura, so I consider it great presence of mind to have reserved enough meat and ink to make this dish last night.
Well it came out unctuous-sweet, fragrant and very tasty indeed; it was the perfect end to a good day’s fishing. The strong herbs really complement the cuttlefish and rich ink-taste well. I would have thought the herb mix far better suited to a lamb or meat dish, but am now converted, just as I am to the slow-cooking process; here in Japan it is generally considered heresy among anglers to really cook fresh-caught squid. In fact, the risotto was so good I helped myself to a second serving, washed down with claret and Madeira (not plum brandy, unfortunately), and it was an effort to preserve the remains. The memsahib was so shocked by my ravings over this dish she made off with all the leftovers, for her supper tonight.