The cuttlefish ink, very rich in melanin, is the liquid that is obtained from cuttlefish and that is also secreted by all the cephalopod mollusks, such as squid and octopus (with different characteristics), to defend themselves in case of attack and hide from the view of predators.
Contained in a bag between the gills, the ink of cuttlefish is expelled by means of a jet of water that is pushed out by a special organ, called "siphon".
Cuttlefish ink contains different chemicals; the main one is melanin, followed by mucus, tyrosinase, dopamine, L-Dopa and modest amounts of amino acids.
In the old days cuttlefish ink was mainly used as ink, while now it is currently used mainly in the kitchen for the preparation of fresh pasta, first and second courses based on fish.
This natural ink gives color and a very pleasant sea aroma to the culinary preparations.
The cuttlefish ink is obtained from fresh and whole cuttlefish, while the ready-to-eat one, easily available on the market, is a very practical alternative, but much less tasty and inviting.
How to get cuttlefish ink
- Wash the cuttlefish under cold running water;
- Incise the body of the mollusk with the help of a sharp knife and remove the central bone;
- Then open the cuttlefish, using a lot of delicacy and care, and turn it inside out like a glove, putting the entrails in sight;
- Identify the small iridescent and blue-colored bag containing the ink; then lift it carefully, cut the peduncle with the help of scissors and, finally, pull it out.
- Use the cuttlefish ink immediately, as it tends to dehydrate in a very short time and try to keep it as short as possible in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Cuttlefish ink can also be subjected to the freezing process and placed in the freezer in a bowl (preferably glass) sealed with the food film, remembering that the cuttlefish ink must be consumed within 2 months at most from the date in which it has been put in the freezer.