Friday, 1 July 2016

Polvo à Lagareiro /Octopus Lagareiro

 Polvo à lagareiro as served at casa rosada

Any country worth its place in its lonely planet food guide prepares delicious octopus. Japan, Portugal,Spain, Greece, Italy, France, in no particular order, each of these countries have at least one or more beloved ways to prepare the ocean´s most popular cephalopod. If you have never prepared something that has six legs more than a chicken, it can seem a bit daunting,but don´t chicken out just yet.
Googling endeavours bring up such extraordinary revelations as boiling it in coke, toe-dipping the tentacles to a count of three.Perhaps the whackiest revelation was in a magazine which suggested you bake the frozen octopus without the addition of water.Given the price of octopus and the possible margin of error I think I will pass on this one, even though the author guaranteed tenrinho  (tenderness) in the end result.
 The old trick of banging it on the rocks to tenderize it has long since been replaced by freezing the octopus before cooking,so in general it is easier to work with good quality frozen octopus than with fresh one.So calm your nerves and get yourself ready to buy the octopus.Look for good frozen octopus in well stocked supermarkets, or if you have the luxury of a spacious freezer get your fishmonger in the market to supply you a fresh one.Bring it home and freeze it for a couple of days.When selecting your cephalod,make sure it has double rows of suckers on the tentacles,this is a sign of its quality.Frozen octopus actually cooks up twice as tender as fresh; the freezing and thawing process kickstarts the tenderizing process.Something to also bear in mind when making your choice is the weight.Octopus will cook down considerably.Allow a 5–7 lb.(3.2kg) octopus for an 8-person first course.Well its time to get over your fears.Octopus is much easier to cook at home than you think.The Nigel Slater technique has never failed me.Take a large pan of  water and I mean large (at least 10 litre capacity) for a 1.5kg Octopus.Wash and clean the octopus thoroughly under cold running water,looking for any sand wedged in the suckers.Leave it to soak for a few minutes while you prepare the stock.

COOKING TIP: never ever salt the water.The octopus secretes plenty of salt from the sea.

 A memorable lunch that inspired me to cook Polvo à lagareiro 
as served at Restaurante Fábrica do Costa

1 small onion
1 small carrot
3 bay leaves
6 black pepercorns 
Bring the water to the boil.Peel the onion and slice it thinly.Scrub the carrot and slice it into thin coins.Add the onion ,carrot,bay leaves and peppercorns to the water.
Dunk the monster into the boiling water.As soon as it returns to the boil,lift it out ( yes i know,unfortunately no tips here for handling a slippery cephalod with tongs and other assorted batterie de cuisine) leave it for a few seconds then return it to the pan. Repeat,then leave to simmer for about 40 minutes.Test it for tenderness by slicing off a tiny piece.If it is still tough,leave to simmer for for anything up to 30 minutes more,making the sign of the cross over your chest hoping for success.If it isn´t tender then, it probably won´t ever be.

Polvo à Lagareiro /Octopus Lagareiro
com batatas a murro
 Lagareiro is the name given to the owner of an olive oil press and this has now become  the name of a style of cooking fish which has many variants but typically ends in dressing the fish generously with extra virgin olive oil  after grilling or roasting.This is probably one of the most delicious octopus dishes in the world and certainly my favourite.

1 polvo médio/grande de 2 kg cozido como acima

Em uma panela grande coloque água para ferver
Coloque o polvo e deixe cozinhar até que fique macio
Deixe por cerca de 30 a 40 minutos e escorra

Acenda a churrasqueira e deixe em brasa com temperatura alta

Pegue o polvo, pincele-o com azeite e coloque na grelha
Deixe até que ele fique dourado e crocante por fora

As batatas ao murro
Pegue oito batatas pequenas tipo sauté
Lave bem e não descasque
Coloque as batatas em uma forma e cubra com sal
Leve ao forno por aproximadamente 40 a 50 minutos até que fiquem macias

Pegue um pimentão vermelho/amarelo, tire os caroços e corte-os em fatias grossas

Pegue uma cebola, descasque e corte em quatro pedaços
Disponha em uma forma e regue com azeite
Leve ao forno 200ºC por cerca de 40 minutos até que fiquem macias
Montagem do prato:
Pegue as batatas e tire todo o excesso de sal
Amasse-as, “dê um leve murro” para que elas estourem as beiradas
Disponha as batatas no prato, coloque o polvo por cima, enfeite com os pimentões e com as cebolas
Acrescente algumas azeitonas pretas e regue com azeite de boa qualidade
    Octopus Lagareiro
    with batatas ao murro (English)

    2kg octopus cleaned tenderized and cooked as above
    8 small new potatoes
    1 red pepper,
    1 green pepper,1 yellow pepper

    black olives
    olive oil
    Flor de sal

      Heat the grill until smoking hot
      Take the octopus, brush it with olive oil and place on the grill
      Leave until it is golden and crispy on the outside 

      Preparing the punched potatoes (ao murro) 
      Take eight small potatoes. Wash well but do not peel
      Place the potatoes in a baking tray and cover with salt
      Bake for about 40 to 50 minutes until tender
      Take the red / green and yellow peppers, remove the seeds and cut them into thick slices
      Take an onion, peel and cut into four pieces
      Arrange in another baking tray and drizzle with olive oil
      Bake 200 ° C for about 40 minutes until tender

      Assembling the dish:
      Take the potatoes and remove any excess salt
      Knead them, "give a light punch" so that they burst the edges
      Arrange the potatoes on the plate, put the octopus on top, garnish with the roasted peppers and onions
      Add some black olives and a generous libation of olive oil.

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