Friday, 7 April 2017

octopus tartare / tártaro de polvo, caught in a trap


I like to know the provenance of the food I eat.How it is caught, how it is killed and how it gets to my table. Since Phoenician times, octopuses have been the main catch for the villagers of Santa Luzia.The best octopus in Portugal comes from this Algarvian village,  snuggling next to Tavira and just 26 kms from casa rosada.The locals proudly call it the octopus capital of Portugal.The fishing process has changed little in several thousand years.
The barnacle-encrusted pottery jars (“alcatruz” )
The barnacle-encrusted pottery jars (“alcatruz” ) you see stacked all over the village are much more than rustic souvenirs: They're octopus traps. They're tied about 15 feet apart in long lines and dropped offshore. Octopuses think these are a cozy place to sleep but get caught when  the fishermen hoist them in, and when the pots get removed from the water the stubborn octopuses hang on — unaware they've made their final mistake. Nowadays the younger generation of fishermen don’t like to wait for the mollusks to fall asleep, so they prefer to use a “covo,” a plastic trap with a sardine inside.

Old timers swear that the octopus caught with the alcatruz tastes much better than the one caught with the covo.
Frozen octopus is much more reliable than fresh, in terms of ensuring the meat is tender.No more bashing on the rocks, modern thinking suggests that the freezer is the best option.
Octopus tartare / tártaro de polvo
now the weather has finally turned this is a great sunshine dish

makes 4 servings
500g of finely chopped prepared,freshly cooked octopus
2 finely chopped banana shallots
a few drops of tabasco
2 tsp capers de-salted and finely chopped
3 anchovy fillets (optional)
1/2 avocado mashed
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 soup spoon seasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves
2 small radish finely chopped
Pinch of Flor de sal
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Once everything is finely chopped, mix well together, taste for seasoning and put into mould or small ramekin.
Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (and up to a couple of days). When ready to serve, turn out onto a plate and drizzle with some olive oil.

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