Saturday, 13 April 2013

Eight Easy Pieces

Pulpo alla Griglia con Fagioli, Pomodorini, Cipoletta & Timo
Grilled Octopus & White Beans with Tomato, Spring Onion & Thyme

A silly title for a post again, I know... but you all love me for it, I know ;-) And anyway- I am sure any pirate would have given his wooden leg for a plateful of this crispy pan-seared octopus! Yes- pieces of 8 indeed! At least with octopus, you can feed a family of 8 without fights breaking out at the table, when everybody wants to have a leg! Try doing that with a chicken or a turkey!

Although of course, in all fairness- this little fellow, with all of his 8 tentacles, was still only a single serving- but it's the principle that matters! Paired with some of those lovely butter bean-cum-cannelini haybrids that the Greeks are so fond of and amongst other seasonings, plenty of fresh thyme, this was a wonderful, light and tasty Mediterranean meal- I think that maybe you just might agree! 

This was very quick and easy to make. The octopus went straight into my steamer for 10 minutes whilst I began preparing the beans and the cool thing is that everything was finished in just 20 minutes!

For the beans, I needed 3 Spring onions, finely chopped and a half clove of garlic, crushed... the other half would go into the pan with my octopus in a few minutes. So the onions and garlic sizzled away in a little olive oil and in the meantime, I opened and drained my can of beans. Once the onion was beginning to brown, I added the beans and a handful of finely chopped parsley. I seasoned with salt, pepper and nutmeg, sautéed them at a high heat for 2-3 minutes and then reduced the heat to a slow simmer.

In the meantime, the octopus was steamed and tender- it only took 10 minutes for this small one, a full-sized one would require 45 minutes or so. In any case, I took it and cut the tentacles apart and trimmed the bladder part into 4 strips. These went into a very hot frying pan with just a little garlic, a sprinkle of black pepper and a pinch of salt. After 2-3 minutes at maximum heat, I added the garlic and a squeeze of lemon juice, then turned off the heat but let it continue to crisp in the hot pan.

Back to the beans, which were now cooked a delicious, and the final addition of 2-3 cherry tomatoes which I cooked-in with the beans for the final 2-3 minutes, so that they would retain their flavor but would be lightly cooked but come up to temperature... and then it was time to dish up! The beans and tomatoes came first and the crispy octopus settled down on top. I added a little last squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil, then sprinkled everything generously with fresh thyme and my dish was good to go! And totally delicious too! Absolutely as simple and tasty as it looks and definitely a dish to recreate! Hope you have fun doing so! 

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