“Wasn’t its head,” Conseil went on, “crowned by eight tentacles that quivered in the water like a nest of snakes?” – Jules Verne, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
I, myself, am floundering around this sea of food blogs, attempting to latch on to an anchoring rock. I’ll get there eventually. Please excuse any peculiarities in the meantime.
Right, you’ll forgive me, but this is going to be a kind of hurried, experimental first post. I have intentions for subsequent missives to be more well thought-out, informative and original. But this is your lot for now, like it or lump it.
The above is, well, what it is. An octopus. They’re not very difficult to get hold of. Any good fishmonger (probably in a metopolitan area rather than out in the sticks) will have them. Any Chinese supermarket (on a plastic tray, in my experience), and Morrison’s, quite often (Tesco’s extremely rarely).
Get rid of the central beak and scoop its guts out (this blog isn’t for the squeamish and I make no apologies for that). Skin it as best you can, but don’t worry about the skin too much – just get most of it off.
I will revisit this post at a later date to deal with tenderising, but I whacked it with a rolling pin for five minutes and it turned out fine.
Blanche the whole caboodle in boiling water for 30 seconds. Lift out and immerse in cold water to stop the cooking process. I’ve read recipes that call for this to be done three times in succession. That’s a load of nonsense and makes no appreciable difference to the outcome.
Bung the octopus back in the boiling water for 40 or so minutes. Boil some cut up spuds in the same water. Once everything is satisfactorily done, drain the water, cut up the octopus…
…and transfer both the Animalian Mollusca and the potatoes to a pre-heated pan sufficiently laced with olive oil.
It needs spices, right? Of course it does! It’s a Spanish dish and therefore needs pimentón, which is smoked paprika. This might not be available in the UK by the time you read this due to myopic nativism, but at least some kind of paprika or similar will do.
Then all you need to do is frantically search for some parsley from the nearly-dead specimen on the windowsill with which to garnish your dish and it’s sorted.
Sod it. I’ll work out how to put the actual recipe box thingy here tomorrow.