Thursday, May 22, 2014

Octopussy, Htapothi, Pulpo...a culinary break from melanoma

Bent LOVES octopus.  Whether the Greek flame grilled versions that have been beaten on rocks by the fishermen, then hung on a rope stretched over the doorway of the dining establishment, in the sun, for unknown hours...or the Pulpo de gallego that we had in Madrid.  Yes, we had an amazing trip to Spain after the Tampa trip in September!!! I like octopus...ok.  Not enough to order it from the menu.  But, well enough to taste Bentie's. It is not at all slime-y, as might be imagined.  Instead, if not prepared carefully, it is very tough....rubber it has been dubbed by Fred-o.  At any rate...this is what I found in my freezer a couple of weeks ago!!!!  Sorry for the upside-down pic...but octopus...almost three pounds....for 21 bucks...packed in Spain...AND IN MY FREEZER!!!!!!

Many Spanish and Greek Cook books were read.  Web sites perused. These are the aromatics that made it into the initial broth.

And there you have...Octopussy.  Much was studied beforehand about the removal of the eyes and "beak"!

Poor thing.  They are supposedly very intelligent.  I once saw one unlatch his cage on a Jacques Cousteau special!

Very wasteful and Queen of Hearts of with the head!  Hungry people eat that.  But, having never been served that in restaurants and with the necessity of digging out the eyes....well....there's only so much a girl can take!!!

Yes, there is a very hard ring of cartilage (??) just here...called the "beak" that must be removed.


ALL the recipes tell you to dunk the octopus up and down in boiling water/broth for 3-5 times.  Some say it is to prevent 'scarring'...but we decided it was so that the tentacles wouldn't be all stuck together.
So there she boiled for about ten minutes.

Then for the braising...with no added water...per multiple the octopus has so much water that it will exude enough on it own.  How long?  You might ask.  Per the door to forever is none too soon.

After braising for about 4 hours...which was minimal per the recipes...the tentacles were removed and sliced for the pulpo de gallega.  Ours must have been smaller or more tender than most...because we may have actually cooked it overlong!!

Sliced potatoes that were boiled in the broth from the initial octopus dunking.

Pan con tomate that Brent put together while I was all octopussy!
Sliced octopus tops the potatoes.
Sprinkle with a mixture of smoked and sweet paprika (pimenton) with a bit of cayenne, since I had no hot Spanish Paprika and a dusting of sea salt.

And there you have it!  A Spanish tapas dinner Madrilenos would be proud of....pan con tomate, marinated olives, chorizo, and YES!!!  Pulpo de Gallego!!! with Cava!!!   Buen provecho!!
Love, C

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