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Friday, August 22, 2014

Octopus and Mussels on the Plancha

I'm not sure there are enough words to express all that I have experienced today from first sight to the tips of my fingers to my eyes to my tongue to the deepest pleasure of life available to "normal" the actual pleasure I really enjoyed.
I've been wanting to try cooking octopus for a very very long time now, but it was never the right "moment" according to some.. and I was almost certain that the day I would finally go specifically buy octopus, there wouldn't be any.
These little ladies are fresh, fished from the Mediterranean.  They are not very big, and the fish monger cleaned them, removed the ink sac and the "plume" or bone and separated the head from the body for me.  She said they didn't need much time on the plancha, but didn't tell me anything about boiling.  After some research and seeing with my consultant, I decided to boil, but I completely stressed out because everywhere you look on the internet tells you to do something different to tenderize, and some don't boil at all.  It really all comes down to the size and if it is fresh or frozen.  A big octopus will need to be boiled 45 minutes to 1 hour.. a baby one will not at all, a medium one (like mine) will need 20 to 30 minutes.  My stubborn self was afraid to overcook it, so I didn't listen to the voice on my shoulder.
It was still the most amazing experience.  I enjoyed the texture and taste, especially after being massaged in that lovely olive oil and orange and lime juice.
 Raw fresh octopus.. count the 8 tentacles...I'm sorry lady, but I had to lift up your skirt to check out your inner beauty..
 Submerged in boiling water, pepper, anis bulbs, and kosher salt for 10 hindsight, I should have made that 20.  The boiling part is to tenderize it.   Since my octo was fresh, it was more tough than if it had been frozen and thawed.  I will listen to the wise ones next time.
 Octopus, tossed in lime, olive oil, garlic, piment d'espelette, fleur de sel, cracked black pepper, flat leaf parsley with all its friends.. zucchini, eggplant, and onion in the same goodness plus a squizzle of orange..
The mussels are just cleaned.  Their seasoning will go on once they are open.
Do you see that little red bottle in the back?  That is spanish olive oil in spray form specifically for the plancha.  My angels are always looking out for me.  That little bottle works wonders.  I love it.
I had no idea this picture was being taken, but I do look very concentrated on the task at hand.
 Happy zucchini, eggplant, and onions grilling with a squizzle of orange..
Mussels opened after about 50 seconds... then tossed with some olive oil, flat leaf parsley, grated garlic, piment d'espelette, and pepper... oh are you sensing a recurring theme here?
and finally.. the moment we've all been waiting for.. well, at least I have been waiting for this for at least 1 year..
I may have cooked these a total of 4 minutes, being sure to turn them so they get the nice grilled color on each side.
This was the culmination of my evening (not my day).  Those tentacles.. ooh!

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