Michelin-star-winning chef Pino Cuttaia’s restaurant in Licata is only about a hundred kilometers across the Malta-Sicily channel, giving him access to essentially most of the same raw materials for his dishes that we have locally.
His bold and creative uses for squid in his dishes are trailblazing not only for their creativity, but also for their sustainability: squid and octopus are a few of the handful of species that are actually currently booming.
You can see all three recipes in his video for Italia Squisita, an Italian dining magazine and website. English subtitles are available, but they all start with Chef Cuttaia surgically removing the squid’s ink sac, before blending the white skin into a snow-white paste.
1. Making a squid veil to cover greens
For the first dish, the squid paste is expertly flattened into a disk and steamed at 60°C. The veil, resembling a filo pastry, is then applied over a zucchini puree.
2. Piping them into dumplings
3. Turning them into ‘klamari eggs’
For his piece de resistance, Chef Cuttaia punctures a hole in a chicken egg, empties and washes it before lining the inside of the egg with the blended squid. For a golden yellow surprise, he also reintroduces the egg yolk, before sealing the hole and steaming it at 60°C again for 20 minutes.
The egg shell is then broken, before being placed on a truffle nest. The end result is… well, this.
Besides squid, Chef Cuttaia’s other Mediterranean sourced meals include octopus.
And the legendary Pasta con Sarde, which he teaches you to make in another Italia Squisita video. The dish is found almost exclusively in Sicily or among the Sicilian diaspora, and is known for it’s distinctive flavours and aromas of saffron, fennel, raisins and sardines.