Last year Alessandro Pavoni, the chef and owner of a one hat restaurant Ormeggio in Sydney, appeared a few times on Masterchef Australia Series 3 – mostly to take part in the so called “immunity challenges” where the amateur cooks compete against professional chefs for the right to win immunity from elimination rounds of the show. One of the signature dishes that Alessandro once brought to the Masterchef kitchen was Cuttlefish checkerboard. It looked so impressive that I started to think of the ways to reproduce the dish at home.
From the very beginning I decided to substitute cuttlefish with plain white fish which is more readily available in the local markets (and enjoyed more in our family!). The question was how to make it black. Needless to say, it’s next to impossible to get the squid ink (which is used in the original recipe) in Kolkata. I wanted to find a black food condiment that could be used for “painting” the fish – just the same way as I did for creating fish “braid” – but I failed, so I had to leave the idea of making Pavoni’s dish for a while.
This year, however, when a friend from
brought me a jar of Tartufona – thick bread spread made with black truffles – I realized that I can eventually make my “checkerboard”. In order to stress the earthy flavour of truffles I substituted the calamari broth with mushroom fumet. Looking at my serving plate I couldn’t but admit that’s it’s totally a fusion dish: pieces of fish marinated in Italian truffle paste, served on a bed of Indian basmati rice cream with traditional French fumet. It is amazing sometimes to see how different elements combine and merge to form a sheer delight on the plate! Italy