Quick Octopus Salad

Octopus salad in a bowl

I bought an Octopus. It was more bravado with the kids than a culinary choice. The super duper fish counter at Morissons drew me in and the kids wiped the floor with me. I bought the Octopus.

The preparation

Once we got it home we had to decide what to do with this alien beast. It wasn’t like a little squid that needed a bit of de-inking and bone removal (is it a bone?). This was a beast.

So. I turned its head inside out and watched as it eyes bulged the wrong way. Very frickin’ weird even by my standards. I then pulled, scraped and cut out any bits that I could. There were weird sacks of stuff (eggs?), general goo and a little beak. Pretty amazing really.

The Cooking

Grab a big pan and pour in about three seconds of red wine vinegar. Get it hot in the pan without gassing out your kitchen. Open the windows. I’m sure this is how you make some nasty gas…

Once the vinegar is nice and hot chuck in the octopus and put the lid on. I added a little salt and pepper. Leave it for about 10-15 minutes, giving it a little poke every now and again so that all sides are browned.

You know when it’s cooked as it will be quite easy to pierce with a fork, almost soft.

Once soft, remove from the pan and leave to cool. Then chop into little pieces. I added chopped black olives (Crespo) and poured a little olive oil with a few more crunches of black pepper. A little squeeze of lemon juice and you’re ready to serve.

Very nice and it makes you feel like you’re on holiday!

Black Pudding and Poached Egg Salad

I originally had this at Harvey Nichols for lunch and figured it must be easy to make. The dressing was the hard bit, in that it took longer than three minutes for my brain to process.

This is my favourite quick recipe at the moment. It’s so simple, healthy, tasty and cheap and… Fuuuuuucckkkkk, I love it. 🙂 Now that we’ve got fresh eggs from our chickens this is even better than before (and Harvey Nicks).

Ingredients:

  • Black pudding – 3 big slices per person or 5 fat little slices
  • Rocket and some mixed leaves
  • 2 FRESH eggs per person
  • A squirt of virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar

Get a sealed jam jar to mix up your dressing. Add half an inch of balsamic vinegar, a quick squirt of the olive oil, some ground pepper and crunchy salt. Put the lid on and shake… A lot. That’s the hard bit done. Nice.

Poached eggs next. This is the bit that everybody has an opinion on.

“Use cling film”, “Use cookie cutters”, “add salt to increase the boiling point“, “blah blah blah”…

The trick to poached eggs is to use the freshest eggs that you can. The end.

Get a large frying pan, fill with water and heat until just boiling. Not vigorously boiling, just gently boiling. Crack your eggs and drop them in as quickly as you can, as close as you can to the water without burning yourself. Then simmer for a few minutes and then… Turn off the heat and leave for ten minutes… Its the bubbles that disperse your egg whites so we need to minimise that.

Once your your eggs are in, fire up a frying pan, add a drip of oil and add the black pudding when the oil is hot. Black pudding should be crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, hence the thick slices. Once crispy, turn the heat down. Decent black pudding makes all the difference. Good black pudding you can eat raw. Honest.

Grab your leaves, chuck in a bowl and wait for your eggs. After your ten minutes of poaching, pull out your eggs (!) and lay on kitchen towel to drain. Put the black pudding on top of your leaves and drizzle some of your dressing over, then gently place your eggs on top and drizzle a little more of the dressing. Depending on how many people you;re feeding you’ll probably have some dressing left.

Personally I don’t like runny eggs. Although there is something about the yolk mixing in with the dressing and then covering the peppery rocket and black pudding that somehow tastes more than what it is…

Oh god, I need to eat this now… 😉

Citrus Butter Beans – The Last of the Summer Hummer

The last of last weeks lovely summer hummer salads. This was my fave, although I think that we added a little too much of the old purple onion for most peeps, so watch that.

Segmenting the orange was a strange experience that you would think is easy, but again like most of these things is “easy once you know how”, I’ll wait for Pat to add this as a tip. Suffice to say we used an orange or two more than we should whilst learning this one.

citrus butter beans, close up

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Russian Potato Salad

Another night, another MCC, the summer hummer is upon us. This potato salad rocks and in no small part thanks to the home made mayo, which I’ll cross post another time (I’m getting fed up with saying that, still got some Tuna and Sardines to write up…). Stupidly I got so excited (really) making the mayo that I forgot o take a picture of our Russian salad friend complete, so the ingredients will have to do, shame really as it looks better fully dressed…

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