Thursday, 30 July 2009

Octopus and broccoli

In the supermarket this evening while looking for cake ingredients a little box of tinned octopus caught my eye. I had been looking at the tinned sardines, with their beautiful retro patterned boxes but having never cooked octopus, tinned or otherwise, I decided to buy some.

Lately I have been eating far to many chips and various other stodgy beige foodstuffs and am in desperate need of vegetables so the half broccoli in my fridge was also called into service. Fried broccoli sounds odd but if you chop it finely enough and use sufficent oil so that it doesn't burn it give off a wonderful smell, that is a purer, cleaner version of normal broccoli-odour.

So I fried it in oil with a sprinkle of smoked paprika which I thought would complement the octopus. I would have added garlic but didn't have any; it would have been better if I had. Once the broccoli was bright green and slightly softened I threw in the pretty, pinky-purple pieces of octopus and let it all fester on a low heat until it had warmed through (read: until I couldn't wait any longer). Finally I poured in the juice of half a lemon, some more olive oil and a chopped teaspoonful of the pickled chillies I made last week.

The combination of the slighly scorched bits of broccoli ends, the firmer stalks and the slightly chewy octopus worked really well together, and the oil and lemon juice mixed with the paprika to create a sharp, smoky brick-red dressing. I'm falling in love with pickled chillies in a serious way, and finding a reason to include them in everything at the moment.

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