It's the last day of July and I almost didn't make it this month. It has been a rough month and I haven't been feeling well at all, but I wanted to keep my promise of writing one post a month, so here we are.
I wanted to bring more Portuguese and Spanish flavours to the blog and a few weeks back I decided to have a Tapas night.
I was craving many different flavours and in particular that of salt cod, which I hadn't had for a while.
You see, it's very difficult to find Salt Cod in the UK and, unless you live in a big cosmopolitan city, then the Internet is really the only option available.
While I was scouring the Internet for my beloved salt cod, I came across this Cornish Fishmongers Wing of St Mawes.
Now, I feel I have to add that they didn't ask me to mention, recommend or advertise them. In fact, they don't even know that I am mentioning them here, or that my blog even exists for that matter, but I did think their service and products were so excellent, that I would most definitely recommend them to anyone buying fresh fish in the UK online. They're quite reasonable too.
Anyway, so I came across their website and noticed they sold fresh octopus, again a rare find in local fishmongers or supermarkets here.
I felt a sudden craving and pang for the flavour and texture of the octopus so I ordered some.
I also bought fresh squid, sardines and tiger prawns. It all came on time, packaged beautifully, surrounded by ice and all lovely and fresh.
A couple of days later, I received a phone call from them asking if I was happy with the order. I said I was ecstatic with it, the freshness of the fish and the way it was delivered.
As a first time customer, I had also received a complimentary pack of Oak Smoked Salmon and I have to say it was the best I'd ever tasted. I complimented them over the phone on the quality of the products and had a lovely chat with Anne, who mentioned she'd been a restaurateur for many years and swore by the quality of the ingredients.
Anyway, to cut a very long story short, I was a very happy customer indeed.
The octopus itself was just so deliciously fresh and juicy!
So on with the tapas menu. I really wanted it to be a marriage of Spanish and Portuguese flavours with a Scottish touch added in through the addition of the delicious Smoked Salmon.
Gambas a la Plancha-Prawns cooked over coarse sea salt with a dressing of olive oil, fresh chilli, parsley and lemon.
It all went down really well.
My partner, who wasn't too sure about the Octopus salad, said it was his favourite and as for I love flavour me Jr, he couldn't have enough of the Octopus and Calamari.
I loved it all.
I do hope you try this recipe. If you're a bit squeamish or have never tried Octopus before, don't let that put you off. It's really easy to cook and the creamy juicy texture will leave you wanting more.
So for the recipe:
Mediterranean Octopus Salad
For the Octopus
1kg of fresh/frozen then thawed Octopus
1 large chopped chilli
The juice of a large lemon
2 chopped cloves of garlic
a generous serving of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tsp of salt.
For the Salad
1tsp of red wine vinegar
1tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Chopped parsley to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste
Sliced/Quartered tomatoes (optional)
Chopped Shallots (optional)
Wash your octopus thoroughly. Place in a large pan and cover with water. Cook for 1 1/2 hours to tenderise it. Once cooked, allow it to coll and then remove the skin.Make sure that you also remove the eyes and 'beek' which are located between the head and the tentacles.
Chop the head and tentacles into to mouthful sized pieces ad place in a large bowl.
Drizzle with the olive oil, at least 2 tbsps. Then the lemon, garlic, chilli and finally the salt. Mix it all very well and ensure that every piece of octopus is covered in the marinade and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours but no longer than that or the lemon will start to recook the octopus.
After 2 hours, drain the marinade from the octopus pieces and pat dry them with a kitchen towel or paper.
Heat a skillet/pan on very high heat and cook the octopus for 2 to 5 minutes until it starts to crispen up.
Remove the Octopus from the heat and place in the serving bowl. Mix the red wine vinegar with the olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste.
Add your tomatoes to the octopus and sprinkle with the chopped shallots and parsley.
Add your dressing and mix it all in really well.
So there you go, simple and delicious. Hope you give it a go!