Creatures of the Deep | WYPR

Creatures of the Deep

Mar 25, 2014

 March 25, 2014 - Radio Kitchen - Creatures of the Deep   

Last week we talked about dishes from Spain that I hoped I would encounter when I go there next October.  This week we're going to cover some of the favorite foods of its neighbor, Portugal.  If you go online and peruse any Porutguese restaurant menu, you will find numerous references to octopus and squid.  And those of you who are veterans of spring break in Florida will remember another creature of the deep: conch.

Here is Jerry's favorite recipe for octopus, plus two other great recipes.

                    Marinated Octopus
Chef Jerry Pellegrino

1 large octopus, cleaned
3 lemons, 2 cut into ¼ inch wheels, the other zested & juiced
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves
¼ cup very good extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed with a mallet in a zip-loc bag
1 shallot, very thinly sliced, preferably on a mandolin
3 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced, preferably on a mandolin
1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, roughly chopped
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
Flaky sea salt

1.  In a stock pot large enough to hold the octopus, place the lemon wheels, onion and bay leaves. Fill with enough water in which to submerge the octopus but not too much so that it overflows. Salt the water generously with Kosher salt. It should taste like sea water. Bring the water to a boil and allow to cook for 10 minutes. Add the octopus.  When the water returns to a boil, cook for an additional five minutes.

2.  Remove the octopus, carefully from the water and submerge in an ice water bath. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Remove and allow it to dry on paper towels. Cut the octopus into bite-size pieces.
3.  Mix all of the remaining ingredients together in a bowl except for the salt. Toss the octopus in the marinade and allow  it to sit, covered, in the fridge for at least one hour or overnight. Season with the sea salt just before serving.

                Herbed Grilled Calamari

2 lbs calamari, cut into tubes and tentacles
2 tbs lemon zest
juice of one whole lemon
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried tarragon
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
additional lemon juice to finish
chopped cilantro for garnish

1.  Slit the calamari tubes up 1 side, and lightly score outside skin.

2.  Place calamari tubes and tentacles in a bowl and add the lemon zest, lemon juice, herbs and seasonings.  Toss well to coat all pieces evenly.  Marinate in the refrigerator for one hour.

3.  Pre-heat your grill to a medium heat.  Place the marinated calamari in a wire seafood grilling basket in batches, and grill for about 2 1/2 - 3 minutes, turning once.

4.  After all have been grilled, slice the calamari tubes into long strips, but leave the tentacles whole.  Serve on a plate with a sprinkling of lemon juice and a garnish of the chopped cilantro.

                    Conch Fritters

1 qt. Canola oil for frying
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
cayenne pepper to taste
smoked salt to taste
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup chopped conch meat
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 stalks celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 glove garlic, minced

1.  Heat oil in a deep fryer to 365 degrees.

2.  In a bowl, mix the flour, egg and milk.  Add seasonings and blend.  Add the conch meat, and chopped vegetables.  Blend thoroughly.

3.  Drop tablespoons full of the conch batter into the oil and fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.  Serve while hot with cocktail sauce.