Back in the summer, I went to a festival that was serving squid ink in some Japanese dish. The line was ridiculously long and there wasn’t much time before the festival was going to end, so I had to forego trying it. It’s been lingering in the back of my mind since – what does squid ink taste like? Today was my lucky day. I happenchance (apparently this is actually a word) to find a restaurant that served squid ink pasta that the restaurant fittingly called Nero, meaning black in Italian. And to my shock, I learned that squid ink is commonly used in many pasta dishes in Italy.
For this particular dish, it was served with fresh pasta, succulent shrimp, sliced garlic, capers and it was topped with salmon caviar and a sprig of basil leaf. Despite looking morbidly like a pile of dead worms or Medusa’s hair, the squid ink pasta was delicious. Was it salty? Was it fishy? Was it like calamari? Slightly, not really and no. I would describe the taste of squid ink as a tad briny, very similar to the taste of ocean water but on a more mild scale. And for a salt fiend like me, I was highly intrigued. The salmon caviar was fresh and biting into it created a popping sensation with a tad of salmon-esque juice flowing out. It had some fishiness to it, though not overpoweringly fishy at all. It was a great way to brighten up an otherwise dark meal too.
The combination of ingredients was fantastic. It was good level of brackish mixed with multiple layers of flavours and textures, like the sweet and bouncy shrimp, sourness and softness of the capers and al dente pasta. The bit of chili flakes added to the dish gave it a nice spice too. Overall, it was beautiful dish with ingredients that worked well together to form a visual masterpiece and a tasty plate. It was definitely a memorable meal and I can now check squid ink off my bucket list. 🙂