One of my favorite dishes at Aqua*** was “squid cut into the shape of tagliatelle and cooked in a stock of smoked sturgeon with Beluga lentils, imperial caviar, sauce of smoked sturgeon and samphire”. I really liked the combination of ingredients, and I thought it would not be too hard to make something similar at home. The flavors and textures are wonderful together: smooth elegant squid, creamy salty caviar, earthy chewy lentils, and fresh crunchy samphire. Although it was not as spectacular as at Aqua, my version was absolutely delicious and not at all hard to prepare. This is a great dish to impress your guests at a dinner party.
I used caviar from sturgeon that is farmed in the Netherlands. If real caviar doesn’t fit in your budget, I think this dish will still turn out very nice if you use imitation caviar instead.
For 4 servings as an appetizer
300 grams (.66 lb) cleaned squid
50 grams (1.8 oz) caviar
60 grams (2 oz) smoked trout (or smoked sturgeon if you can find it)
240 grams cooked lentils (from 120 grams (2/3 cup) dry lentils)
generous handful of samphire (you will need 4 tablespoons of minced samphire, plus more for garnish)
120 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine
Chop the smoked trout and combine with 120 ml dry white wine and 120 ml water.
Blend until smooth.
Clean the squid and slice it into thin strips.
Put the pureed trout in a saucepan together with the squid, and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, and allow to simmer…
…until the squid is tender. This will take about 1 hour.
Blanch the samphire in boiling water for 10 seconds…
…then drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
Mince most of the samphire, reserving some sprigs for garnish. You will need about 4 tablespoons of minced samphire.
Mix the lentils with the cooking liquid from the squid and reheat the lentils if needed. Taste and only add salt if needed.
Arrange a layer of lentils on each preheated plate. Then cover with dots of caviar.
Then sprinkle with the minced samphire, and arrange the squid on top. I rinsed the squid with boiling water to ‘clean’ it after cooking. Garnish with sprigs of samphire and serve.
At Aqua it was paired with an wine in an oxidative style with relatively high acidity. At home I used a white Rioja and it worked very well. This dish works well with an oaked white that is not too creamy or fruity but quite dry.
Monkfish with Armoricaine sauce is a classic French dish.