Saturday, January 11, 2014

Carmela Soprano's Octopus Salad

Back to the salads…
Well, to be honest, I nattered on about the problems with making Octopus Salad.
Especially when one lives in the Canadian prairies.

I searched in the frozen food section.
I asked the butcher /  fish monger of our local stores.
I had to settle with something called Seafood Combination.
That’s about as close as I’m going to get to an octopus here in Winnipeg.
Well, there are worse problems.

The picture had octopus tentacles.
Everything in the bag was tiny, so I haven’t a clue if there were any tentacles.

I also nattered about the problems with serving Octopus Salad.

Octopus is a common food in Mediterranean cuisine. 
On the Tunisian island of Djerba, people catch them by taking advantage of the animals' habit of hiding in safe places. In the evening they put ceramic pots on the sea bed. The next morning they check them for octopuses. 
In the Greek islands octopuses are often caught by spear fishing close to the shore. 

No matter how you caught them, octopus needs to be cooked a good long time. 
If you’ve got a frozen octopus, thaw it first.
Some people just use the tentacles.  Suit yourself.

With the Seafood Combination you can skip the cleaning, washing and cutting. 
Seafood Combination only needs to cook for about 30 minutes.

You can serve the cooked octopus warm after it’s been mixed with the dressing.
Or you can chill it and serve it on a bed of lettuce leaves.
Again, suit yourself.

Without further ado or nattering, here’s Carmela’s recipe for Octopus Salad from Entertaining with the Sopranos:

                        Octopus Salad

Serves 6

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
3 1/2 pounds octopus, cleaned
2 garlic cloves, slightly crushed
1 bay leaf
Partially cover the pot and cook 1 to 1 1/4 hours.
The octopus should be tender when pierced with a fork.
Drain the octopus and cut into bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl whisk together
1/4 Cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of crushed red pepper
salt to taste
the octopus pieces 
Stir well.
1/4 Cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Serve immediately, or chill and serve on a bed of lettuce.

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