Octopus, Again?

Some of my loyal readers are repelled by the idea of eating octopus, and others may simply be tired of the many times I post about it. If you are in either category, my apologies. Please just move on to the next posting.

The methodology this time was the same as my entry, Octopus 5.0, described here two years ago. It’s a combination of food-scientist-writer, Harold McGee’s simple poaching process, followed by Jesse Schenker’s overnight marinating bath in citrus-infused olive oil with herbs. Below are some of the prep steps, showing the oil bath, chopped herbs and garlic, Sicilian sea salt, and Calabrian chili peppers.

This was a 4.5 lb. Spanish octopus, purchased frozen from Portugalia. One of the joys of this food is the number of delicious meals I can make from it. This week’s list included:

  • Pulpo alla Gallega
  • grilled octopus with roasted Portobello mushrooms
  • octopus with grilled radicchio
  • grilled octopus with King City Pinks beans (Ranch Gordo) and more Radicchio di Treviso
  • octopus with potatoes and arugula
  • octopus with sweet onions and potatoes

You can quickly browse through the dishes shown below. The one new technique that I learned was McGee’s description of concentrating the juices released in the poaching process. There was a quart of intensely-rich flavored juice in the pot when it was done cooking for 5 hours at 200° F., all of it from the octopus which started in a dry pot. Those juices were boiled down considerably to produce an even more intense sauce, which greatly enhanced the octopus and beans dish, enough so that a full-bodied red wine was the right accompaniment.

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