Saturday, 18 May 2013

Do You Sea what I Sea?

Pulpo Piccante con Barba di Frate allo Zenzero & Limone
Spicy Octopus on Lemon & Ginger Monks Beard

You all know I am not the greatest lover of fish... I do eat it on occasion and there are even a couple of types of fish that I actually enjoy- haha! Cockles and mussels are also not my thing- neither are oysters or caviar... But offer me shrimp, scallops, cuttlefish or squid and I am your man! And octopus? Oh yes please!

Monks beard is also a wonderful green that grows near the sea and has a saltiness to it that makes it hardly need seasoning- it is very cool, if somewhat rare to find... unless you go to the Frankfurt indoor market that is! Just kidding there, as it is just as rare for us too- but all the more reason to pounce when it is in season! Like right now!

This was a simple dish to make, finished in just 30 minutes and great for a Spring or Summer evening... even if it does still feel more like Winter here!

I started off by setting the octopus into my steamer, where it would spend the following 20 minutes. This was a small octopus, so it would only require a short time- a full sized one will take about 45 minutes. But with the octopus steaming away I had plenty of time to take care of the "monks beard"...

This time around, I decided to prepare it with lemon and ginger, so I began with a very fine dice of ginger and a little olive oil to get it sizzling. Whilst that was happening, I cut the stalks and roots generously away from the monks beard and rinsed the tender ends well- then added them to the now golden ginger with a loud hiss! I seasoned with just a very little salt as the monks beard is naturally a little salty and some white pepper. Next came the juice of half a lemon and a splash of Sambuca and on went the lid. I let it steam for a couple of minutes, then tossed it through, replaced the lid and turned off the heat... The monks beard was done!

By now the octopus was finished too, so I cut it into more manageable pieces and fried it at a high heat in a non-stick pan with a little olive oil and some crushed garlic. Once it was lightly brown on all sides, I seasoned it with some Old Bay spice mix, green Tabasco, salt, pepper, added the juice of half a lime, a good splash of vodka, a little water and popped on the lid to keep in all of that aromatic steam! I left the lid on for a minute or so, then removed it and tossed the octopus in all of the tasty juices that had developed... and that my friends, was that!

I served the octopus up on top of the monks beard, with a little extra squeeze of lemon and a generous sprinkle of thyme- delicious! Simple but good and just waiting to be tried out by you all... so what are you waiting for?!?! Enjoy!

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