Beans, Bread and Baby OctopusMar 4th, 2009 | By Peter Minakis | Category: Appetizer, Baking, Beans, Bread, Dough, Dressing, Greek, Herbs, How To, Lemon, Lent, Meze, Olive Oil, Onions, Pizza, Recipes, Seafood, Side, Vegetables, Vegetarian
For the next few posts, you get to enjoy a recap of the Lenten Feast I presented last weekend. Each time I’ll breadown a trio or so of dishes so that you too may prepare and enjoy in the comfort of your own home!
The first of today’s trio is a Black-Eyed Pea Salad. You’ll find black eyed peas in a dried variety or on the shelf of your grocery store among the array of other canned beans and legumes. Much like any other canned legume, canned black-eyed peas are a wonderful convenience product that require only a quick rinse.
This salad is easy to prepare, includes ingredients accessible to most and it’s colourful, delicious and healthy (loaded with iron). In the summertime, try adding some micro-greens like purslane.
Black-Eyed Pea Salad
1 250gr. can of black-eyed peas, rinsed & drained
1/2 red onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
2 scallions, chopped
2-3 radishes, finely diced
1 small bunch of fresh dill, finely chopped
1 small bunch of flat leaf parsely, finely chopped
1 large, ripe tomato, diced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
sea salt and black pepper to taste
- In a large bowl, add your your black-eyed peas along with the remaining chopped vegetables and herbs. If preparing ahead of time, add the tomatoes just before serving and then toss in to incorporate.
- Add your olive oil, vinegar and season with salt and pepper according to taste. Toss and serve cool or at room temperature
The next dish in our first Lenten trio is the Ladenia. Some call it the Greek pizza but it is said the Ladenia has been around long before pizza. Parallel universes or perhaps a pizza in it’s earliest stages? I’l allow the historians to debate that. I’m here to share Greek food – delicious Greek food.
The Ladenia comes from the Greek island of Kimolos, a tiny island near Milos, in the southwest Cyclades. Ladenia has quickly become a family favourite and it’s lighter than your usual pizza, bold tastes of olive oil, onions, tomatoes come through and as long as you have tasty tomatoes on hand, you Ladenia will be a delicious success.
I first made Ladenia last year and you can view the recipe details here.
The third dish in today’s Lenten trio is “Octopus Ksidato”. Ksidato in Greek refers to a dish where vinegar reigns prominent in a dish. Here, I’ve used some wonderful baby octopus I source from one of my fish mongers.
Most octopus found in the markets here comes frozen and most are of good quality, cleaned, no ink or beak to tend to or trim. The biggest concern about cooking octopus is assuring that it’s rendered tender – NOT rubbery.
I’ve found the best method to tenderizing an octopus is to place it a pot, cover it and place over high heat. You will soon hear bubbling and gurgling and when you uncover the the pot, you’ll the octopus boiling in it’s own liquid!
No need to add water, aromatics here…the braising liquid will do all the work. Just reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and braise the octopus in it’s own liquid for about 45 minutes to an hour (depending on the size of your octopus).
Check for tenderness by a applying a fork or a knife…it should slide easily through. Finally, I’ve braised many an octopus and I must again recommend adding one one cork into the pot during the braising period.
It is said that their’s an enzyme in the cork that helps to tenderize the octopusÂ and I believe it. That is not to say your octopus will be tough if you don’t employ the cork method but I’m just sayin’…it will be more tender!
Octopus With VinegarÂ Â (Ï‡Ï„Î±Ï€ÏŒÎ´Î¹ Î¾Î¹Î´Î¬Ï„Î¿)
1 -1 1/2 lb. of octopus (I used baby octopus)
extra-virgin olive oil
red wine viengar
fresh ground pepper
dried Greek oregano or thyme
- Place your octopus in a pot along with a wine cork and cover and place over high heat. After you hear the liquid release and boil for about 5 minutes, reduce to medium-low and braise the octopus in it’s own liquid for about 45-60 minutes.
- Remove the octopus from the liquid and if a large octopus, cut up into bite sized pieces.
- Place in a bowl and add some extra-virgin olive oil, some red wine vinegar, fresh black pepper and some dried Greek oregano or thyme.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
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Â© 2007-2009 Peter Minakis
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