A taste of Sitges: Cuttlefish with Peas
There is an ideal connection in the local cuisine and it's the combination between the flavors of Sitges' land and sea. Babette Cruz, owner of the Casa Tecla Restaurant, knows this well and offers us a perfect example of this masterful fusion of peas and cuttlefish, a simple and traditional recipe, made very much slow food style, and updated with new techniques that pay homage to the ingredients because what they do is "enhance the flavors, those of the cuttlefish from our coast and the peas from our local farmers", according to Cruz.
The ingredients for four people are simple and basic:
- 1 cuttlefish weighing between 800 gr. and 1 kg
- 500 gr. of country farm peas
- One medium onion
- Two cloves of garlic
- A bay leaf
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
In Babette Cruz's recipe, the preparation begins with buying the ingredients; at the fish market, cuttlefish caught off the coast of Sitges at its prime; and country farm peas, which are also in season, at the Sitges Municipal Market. Be careful not to be too hasty, because we don't need to clean the cuttlefish. However, we do remove the ink sac, that brownish sac that is inside of it, and we use it to make a sauce with the garlic, onion, salt and pepper. Then meanwhile, we dice the cuttlefish and sear it.
The main innovation of this recipe is its technique, because we vacuum cook or low temperature cook the ingredients. We place the diced cuttlefish along with the sauce in one of the vacuum seal bags and cook it for four hours at 65º. We prepare the peas in another vacuum seal bag with a splash of olive oil and a bay leaf and cook them for 45 minutes at 62º. When both operations are completed, we strain the liquid from the bags and use it to make a reduction.
The assembly of the dish is just as easy. The peas will be the bed, we will place the diced cuttlefish on top of them and sprinkle it with the reduction of its own juices. The vacuum seal or low temperature technique particularly respects the flavors and aromas of the superior quality ingredients we have used. That is the secret to this dish, to use our best km0 products, and cook them in a way that they don't lose any of that explosion of flavors they always guarantee us. This way of cooking them will also give the cuttlefish a special creaminess and the peas will remain whole, so it will be in our mouth where they will leave all their essence.
And what do we pair our dish with?
Babette Cruz encourages us to enjoy this outstanding combination of flavors from Sitges, cuttlefish with peas cooked with loving care, with a fruity white wine. For example, the ideal recommendation would also be a local wine such as Vallformosa’s Freyé made from parrellada and muscat grapes. "It has citrus tones and a fruity flavor that will further enhance the flavors of the cuttlefish," explains Babette Cruz, so consume in moderation, because this combination could very well make you ecstatic.