Octopus Mediterranean

Octopus Mediterranean 1

Today’s little appetizer made with octopus reflects both Spanish and Italian influences so is best described a ‘Mediterranean dish’. It features octopus tentacles that are poached in a flavored broth until almost tender, finished on the grill, and then served in a reduction of the poaching medium…

Octopus Mediterranean 2

I am using two of the tentacles you see here. These were blanched (as evidenced by the dark purple color) and then frozen a while ago and I have thawed a couple for today’s use. You could start with fresh, or freshly thawed octopus and omit blanching, but you may have to adjust the poaching time a little. Have a look at my general blog on Octopus for information on blanching…

 

Octopus Mediterranean 3

To poach, use as small a saucepan as possible and add your tentacles. The medium is made with one cup of white wine, to which is added one half of a small onion chopped, two garlic cloves, a teaspoon each of sugar and Spanish Paprika, and two small bay leaves. I added bay leaf here because I have seen it in many poached octopus recipes but I think, as a matter of personal taste, that I would omit it in future preparations … You will need to poach at a gentle simmer for anywhere from about 30 to as much as 60 minutes depending on the size of the tentacles, and whether you have pre-blanched the meat. Basically, after about 30 minutes, poke the flesh with a toothpick or the like to see how things are coming along. The meat is properly done when the toothpick enters fairly easily but still encounters a bit of resistance.

Once the meat is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. You can move on to the next step immediately if you want, but the dish will be improved if you let the tentacles steep in the liquid in the refrigerator overnight.

 

Octopus Mediterranean 4

When you are ready, strain the poaching liquid and reduce over high heat until only about only one quarter of the original volume. Pour off to a receptacle for the time being

 

Octopus Mediterranean 5

Now, lightly brush the tentacles and grill over flame, or on a ridged grill pan at high heat until the outside is just starting to char. This will take 4 or 5 minutes on each side. Once done, set aside and keep warm.

 

Octopus Mediterranean 6

Finally, heat a generous glug of good olive oil in you pan and quickly saute a finely minced garlic clove until translucent. Add a tablespoon or so of diced tomato flesh and, after a minute or so, add back the reduction. When it is hot, stir in a tablespoon of chopped parsley and remove from the heat.

Slice the tentacles as desired and arrange attractively in a suitable dish. Pour over reduction and garnish as desired. This dish can either be served piping hot, warm, or at room temperature …

 

 

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