Saturday, September 13, 2014

It's not Madrid, but it does relate to Spain

Hello, everyone.

I know I told y'all that I really liked the octopus (pulpo a feira) that we ate in Galicia. I liked it so much that I trawled the internet and found a recipe to make it.

That was all kind of academic at the time, because I had no idea how to find octopus to cook. Then my grocery store (HEB) suddenly stocked thawed, cleaned octopus in the fish counter. Thank you, HEB!

Last night's dinner, in three photos:
Ready to dip into the boiling water

The instructions say to fill a large pot with water and get it boiling. I used a 20 quart stock pot. When it was boiling, I added the peeled whole onion and let it get acquainted with itself for a couple of minutes. Then I rounded up the long handled meat fork and used it to dip the octopus into the boiling water. Removed, stood tapping foot while water returned to boiling, Did the dip-and-remove-and-wait thing one more time. The next time the water came back to a boil, I put the octopus in and left it to cook. I set the timer for 45 minutes. (This octopus was previously frozen. And we know that freezing meat tenderizes it somewhat.)
Ready to check doneness

When the timer went off, I pulled the now-curled octopus out and put it onto the cutting board for the doneness test: cut a chunk out of the thick part of a tentacle and see if it's tender. It was. I cut the tentacles up into bite sized chunks. I also cut where the tentacles join into bite sized chunks. I didn't cut the head up. (The head I serve to the dogs and cats afterward. They love it, too.) Then I transferred all of the chunks to a bowl.

I poured Extra Virgin Olive Oil onto the chunks, added a generous sprinkle of ground Chipotle pepper, and salted. I also sliced up one of the short-baguette loaves baked earlier in the day and we had Pulpo a Feira con Pan for dinner. With tinto to drink.

I confess, tinto sometimes is a little too muscular a wine for chicken and seafood, but it seems like the Spanish are keeping their good Albarinos and Verdejos at home instead of sending them overseas where I can get them. Drat. I love the Spanish wines.

(Oh, the bread was made from the recipe in my copy of Bo Friberg's Pastry Chef book...I've had it some years so I think there's a newer one out, but I'm fairly confident that basic baguette is still in the "Breads and Pastries" chapter. I used a pan of warm water on the bottom shelf of the oven for the steam and used the Pizza Tile and the spiffy new French-bread two-loaf pan to bake it.)

If I remember to take pictures, the next time we find frozen sardines at HEB, I'll take pictures of my sweetie cooking them for me on the fire. And likewise for the next time we make Gambon al Ajillo, shrimp with garlic and olive oil. Both of these are also served with baguette slices.

Did I mention that I divided the bread dough into 4 parts when I made it, baking two and freezing two at the formed loaf ready to rise stage? Now all I have to do to get wonderful baguette bread is to thaw out the loaves and let them rise and bake them. Bread dough freezes wonderfully well.