My apartment is still a mess because of the water damage, but I got my laptop back, and even managed to whip up something despite the debris around me. Today’s recipe may not be top cuisine – it’s definitely not what I had in my mind before I started cooking – but the end result was surprisingly pleasant. I luurv anything octopus, maybe that’s why ;)
I used to associate all tentacly seafood with rubber, mostly because of the deep fried “octopus rings” widely available in many restaurants. That is until I spent a few weeks in Milan on business, and tried their insalata di pulpo i.e. octopus salad. The dish had bite-sized tentacle pieces in olive oil and lemon juice, and the meat was more tender than the best chicked I’ve ever had. From that day on I’ve always looked for different octopus/calamari/sepia dishes whereever I go. Unfortunately I haven’t spent much time in Mediterranean countries famous for their seafood, but in addition to Italy, I’ve had great octopus dishes in Puerto Rico and Macau.
By the way, the rubbery, breaded and fried “octopus” rings are actually made from calamari. There are three different species that often are simply called octopus – calamari, sepia and octopus. Except for their eight tentacles, the three species don’t have that much in common. Albeit calamari and sepia can apparently be cooked to be tender (MM: tell me how!), I prefer octopus and its thick, juicy tentacles. Unfortunately Finland is the worst place in the world to buy them: the only selection seems to be frozen small ones (max 0,5 kg / 1 lbs). Many Mediterranean recipes call for octopi 2+ kg each – something I’m yet to find here :(
But since I am living amongst havoc, and haven’t really had the energy to replenish my food supplies, I only had frozen baby octopi in hand. A quick googling gave many tomato-based recipes, so that’s what I tried myself. The end result was rather plain to be honest, but then I tried to spice it up with some sweet chili sauce. Totally yummy! My original recipe was something like “Baby octopi in tomato and white wine sauce with pine nuts”, but scrap that! Just boil the octopi quickly and enjoy with sweet chili sauce! Here goes the “recipe”:
Baby Octopi With Sweet Chili Sauce
Serves 2-4 as a starter
900 g frozen or fresh baby octopi
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 big onion
lots of garlic
sweet chili sauce
Thaw the octopi in cold water if frozen. Set aside. Cut the onion in small cubes, crush the garlic, and saute in olice oil until soft and golden brown. Add the tomatoes and boil a few minutes. Add the baby octopi, and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Run through a sieve to discard extra juices.
Serve with sweet chili sauce and fresh basil. I liked the leftovers straight from the fridge too :)