Finally! We moved, but it’s not all smooth sailing yet. We’re living out of boxes and we don’t have a kitchen yet. While our perfect kitchen is being built (which we will be talking about soon), I’m going to have to get crafty. I do have many plug-in appliances (rice cooker, toaster oven, panini press, waffle maker, microwave, etc.) so we’re still going to have a ball here. I think we’re going to be pleasantly surprised with how much I (or you) can do without a kitchen. (Gulp) Determined to eat well every single day without exceptions, here goes…

I’m often asked to review cookbooks and I only do it once in a while. It’s mostly because I don’t feel like it’s a proper review until I’ve tried a ton of recipes in the book. However, when I was recently invited to a party at the Phaidon Book Store 100 Wooster Street, New York, NY 10012, I was charmed by how beautiful the Phaidon books are. Originating as a visual arts publisher, Phaidon Press makes these cookbooks more than just sources of recipes. They are adult picture books.

I really enjoyed flipping through The Book of Tapas (the book that was being promoted at this event) but I knew I wouldn’t be able to try many recipes right now….you know my kitchen nightmare. So, I hope you’ll accept my trial of just one recipe – Octopus with Paprika, and then sign-up for the book give-away. Whoever wins, will you give us a review of the cookbook?

Octopus with Paprika

The Book of Tapas Give-Away: All you have to do is leave a comment here (and a way for me to contact you) by Wednesday, May 26 at 3pm. One winner will be selected randomly. Sorry, shipping to the US only (but you can enter as a non-U.S resident and give your prize to someone you know in the US if you want).

The Book of Tapas

I tried this simple octopus recipe that requires zero skill. All you have to do is boil (which I do in my hot pot at the moment). I really like that it gives you the tip of freezing the octopus first to tenderize it. Seredinpity! That was just mentioned on Top Chef Masters. I copied the recipe below and left as is so you can see it, and added my comments below the recipe.

Octopus with Paprika 8

Octopus with Paprika
~from The Book of Tapas

  • 2 1/4 lb octopus
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 pinch hot paprika
  • salt (optional)

Serves 6 (I disagree – see below)

To tenderize the octopus it best to freeze it before cooking. To cook it, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the frozen octopus and cook for about 35 minutes, or until tender. You will need to test it, as the length of time depends on the age and size of the octopus. Drain well and rinse under col running water. Remove and discard any  remaining dark skin and cut the meat into small pieces with kitchen scissors.

Place the pieces in a bowl, pour the oil over them, season with salt, if desired, and sprinkle with hot paprika to taste. Mix well to ensure the octopus is thoroughly coated and serve immediately. If this is not possible, transfer the octopus and oil to a heatproof bowl, cover with aluminum foil and keep warm in the oven until needed.

Octopus with Paprika in a bowl

My thoughts: I think octopus might vary in shrinkage quite dramatically. I cooked about 3 lbs of octopus and it shrunk down to about 20% more than what is shown in this bowl. It was enough for about 2 servings (maybe 3) and the book lists less than what I made to be 6 servings. The other problem is that it calls for 3/4 cup olive oil which is extremely excessive. The amount of octopus I ended up with would be swimming in 1/4 cup, so I just drizzled by eye. However, following the concept and not the quantities of this recipe, it’s a super easy dish that yields a tasty tapas. I also love that freezing it first is a good thing because then I just buy frozen octopus, which is often way easier to find than fresh. Enjoy!

The Book of Tapas Winner is #12: Abbie Wood! Congrats!

posted by jessica at 09:11 AM Filed under Give-Aways, Mediterranean, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.