Cooking with needed for a Black Dinner!

Joined Jan 11, 2002
I've just been asked to help a friend with a "Black" dinner. He is a very good cook, and an ethnologist and ethno-cook as well (I would be very glad if he joined Cheftalk as he could give a great contribute here!) and is planning a Summer Solstice party. For some esoteric reasons I can't remember, all the food MUST be black-I mean naturally black, not artificially colored. Since it seems to be the most difficult color he's still working on the problem. The most obvious things have already come to our minds...I mean Caviar, Risotto or Pasta with squid ink, a dessert made with blackberries or dried plums-a brave host could also serve 1000 years eggs-but this isn't enough to compose a whole meal. Most of all, a main course with side dishes is needed...and, considering the season, black beans or black cabbage soup are definitely NOT suitable (maybe for the next Winter Solstice?;) )
So...more help is needed!


BTW...if you like the topic, other colors (blue, ***hsia, acid green) are following!:D
Joined Jun 1, 2001
You COULD do black beans... maybe a black bean salad with red cabbage, or quinoa (I've seen in magazines, though never in person, a black quinoa). Black sweet peppers (raw; they turn green when cooked). Black olives, or a tapenade, with something. Those tiny eggplants, baked whole, so the outsides are black.

Why black for the Solstice? Odd.
Joined May 26, 2001
But if you make the menu multi-ethnic, black beans are perfect! As a hot or cold soup, or a salsa, or served with black pudding (aka blood pudding, morcilla, boudin noir, etc. etc.)

No cavola nero? :cry:

Thai black rice -- which ends up kind of purple when cooked, but is so delicous.

Cajun "blackened" fish? No, maybe not. A good way to ruin a nice piece of fish.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I think blackened fish can be pretty good. Usually trout or catfish is my preference.

Perhaps some dark chocolate for dessert. Maybe a chocolate cheesecake. They can be pretty dark.

Button mushrooms can be cooked until they look black and still taste good. Some worcestershire sauce helps that out.

Black olives.

Joined Mar 13, 2001
black bean quesadilla

something with black truffle sauce or black tea sauce

Treacle with a rich, fruity suet steamed pudding, or toffee or fudge

Black sesame seeds

Black currant oil
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Black barley with simmered black trumpet shroom's

White asparagus rolled in black sesame seeds and chives

black mission figs with balsamic syrup

mussels with opal nero and black bread

hmmm, I have to think more about this Pongi
Joined May 26, 2001
Phil, you just reminded me: black trumpet mushrooms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edit: darn it, cc, you beat me to it!!

And with a coating of black sesame seeds, just about ANYTHING could work ;)

Black Sambuca??
Twice, you beat me to it ;)

Joined Jul 31, 2000

Couple more

How about Nori wrapped black bass

Or kalamata olive tapinade stuffed into the shell of a roasted eggplant (I know purple..But it will be dark:))
Joined Dec 30, 1999
How about wood ear mushrooms?

Joined Jul 31, 2000
Black pepper encrusted cherve (warm) over micro opel basil

Raisins with toasted black walnuts for a snack
Joined Feb 11, 2002
How about beluga lentils with purple basil or a salad with black roma or any of the dark skinned tomatoes ? Too bad the color has to count - you could do a branzino of black cod. Or what about crusting something with black bread mollica. Or stuffing sepia and cooking in it's own ink?
Dessert - chocolate creme cannolis with coccoa add to dough to make the shells dark?

I'll try to think of some others.

Joined Feb 11, 2002
Pongi - some more I just rememberd. I had them in Modica, Sicily. Both involve chocolate - one is rabbit in an agrodolce type sauce but with chocolate and hazelnuts added-
the other was a turnover ( the Sicilian word is impanatigghe?) filled with either meat and chocolate or eggplant and chocolate. I've had the eggplant and chocolate - amazing - dark, deep and rich flavor. I know I've got the recipes around here somewhere. PM me if you're interested.

Joined Nov 29, 2001
When I was a kid, my mother used to make us squid with linguini - with a sauce of cuttlefish ink (or squid ink if available). The stuff made our teeth gray and I remember all us kids sitting around the table smiling at one another with gray teeth. How about squid ink pasta - that's jet black.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
Caviar and creme fraishe on rosti potatoes (few chives...or fillo cups)

There is a black lettuce called galazy growing here now....
if not available greens with a blue cheese and fig/balsamic dressing

Dried ground black trumpets coating a white dense fish seared
Rice in an eggplant timbale shape
green beans with an minced olive sauce....(still wracking brain on this one)

Ash coated cheeses, globe grapes

Black cherries and really dark chocolate

**black trumpets go well with fish, I thought it was too weird until I tried it at the Crossing....they used fresh, if you got um use um, if not dried crust works.
Joined Jan 11, 2002
Hi Guys!

First of all, thanks everyone for the great advice!
I haven't lposted back before as we have had some holidays (here in Genoa, the 24 of June-the day of St. John the Baptist-is holiday as he's the Saint of our city) and I have my Internet connection only at the workplace. This is the "Black Dinner" update!
To tell the truth, I haven't been personally involved in it, apart from you may know, I'm married, while all the guests of that Dinner were free females ("my witches" as my friend said...don't ask me if he was supposed to be the Devil ;) )

Anyway, I printed out your posts few days before the dinner, that has been just on St. John's Eve, and gave the paper to my friend. He appreciated a lot all you suggestions, but is keeping some of them for his next Black Dinner on November 2nd...I do understand him as (as you already know from Mezzaluna) here is VERY hot now, and Black Beans or Black Cabbage aren't just what you'd love to eat at for Black trumpet shrooms, he had never heard about them before, but it's not odd as they're not that popular in Italy.

Monkeymay...he (and ME also!) is very interested in your savoury chocolate recipes. I also wonder whether the rabbit/chocolate recipe is something like the "LEPRE IN DOLCEFORTE", which is a recipe from Siena and not from Sicily. Could you find those recipes for us? TIA!

Suzanne, I'd like to know more about those black puddings as I have never heard about anyone of them...

But, I'm forgetting what my friend ended up cooking for his Witches:

1) Black Caviar
2) Olive Tapenade croutons (made with black bread)
3) Aubergine Caviar (not just black, but dark enough to be accepted)

4)A very rich fish and seafood risotto blackened with squid ink and garnished with mussels

5)Blackberry salad
6)Dark chocolate mousse

He also explained to me the exact reason why he had to serve only black food, but I have no time left now, so I'll post it afterwards!


BTW...don't ask me WHAT happened after the dinner between the Devil and the Witches. I suspect it's not a chance if the Dinner has been, as you can see, quite light...
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Pongi another question to answer along with the "why he served black food".

Do you jump over fires in Saint-John Baptist's day?

We do :)


Joined Apr 4, 2000
June 24 is Quebec fete nationale. Lots of activities are organised a night parade and many concerts in parks. There use to be a big bondfire but it doesn't happend anymore because some groups thought it would be amusing to burn everything else around.
Joined Jan 11, 2002
we have great fireworks on June 24, but as far as I know nobody jumps over them here:D

As my friend explained to me, the Summer Solstice was originarily a Celtic festivity. Since it couldn't have been accepted as it was by the Catholic Church, being a "pagane" feast, was assimilated to the nearest catholic festivity, St. John the Baptist on June 24. (Something like that, I suppose, happened for Halloween. The Day of the Dead, in the Catholic calendary, is on November 2. It's mainly a religious celebration and we don't dress up...but we use to make for luck sweets like "Dead Bones", "Dead Shoes" and so on)

As everybody knows, before the Summer Solstice the days become longer and longer, and after it they become shorter and shorter. So, the solstice night was considered by the Celts the time when the two primary principles, the Light and the Dark (that is, the Good and the Evil) meet each other, and everything can happen. This is the reason why it is considered a magic night, and this meaning remained also in the catholic tradition, referred to St.John's night (in example, it was believed that the dew collected during this night had magic properties like curing many ailments or finding a husband to the girls).
After the Solstice, the nights become longer and longer, meaning that the Dark gets the upper hand over the Light. So, rituals must be made as "apotropaics" (the word is by my friend, not me!;) ) to chase away the Evil. Eating black food is one of them.

I also heard that here in Italy, but probably everywhere, there are many exoteric sects that organize get-togethers and celebrations for the Solstice night. On the other side, here in Genoa June 24 is simply the Patron Saint feast: we have a holiday from work, fairs, amusement parks, fireworks but nothing magic ;)

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