Thursday 15 July 2010

Food, Music, Food, Music, Food, Music... Ad Infinitum

To celebrate Spain's success in the World Cup this section will be concentrating once more (as if we needed an excuse) on the cuisine from that Iberian nation. And this time we do it supported by a tapas specialist, Inés Ortega. According to Inés, "in principle tapas is a slice of bread topped with any ingredients, served hot or cold, and eaten with fingers or a fork. It's something to be done before a meal, but then tapas can often replace a meal. The point of tapas is that you're not locked into a formal meal. There's very little commitment in sampling tapa." (taken from Observer Foood Monthly, May 2010). So, what are we waiting for? Let's tuck in!

Octopus with paprika

Serves 6

1kg octopus
175ml olive oil
1 pinch hot paprika
salt (optional)

To tenderise the octopus it is best to freeze it before cooking. To cook it, bring a large pan of salted water to the 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 cold 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 aluminium foil and keep warm in the oven until needed.

As a variation, you can also heat 175ml olive oil in a pan, add 25g roughly chopped onion and 1 garlic clove and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes. Remove the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in sweet paprika to taste. Add the flavoured oil to the octopus pieces, mix well and serve immediately.

I have selected a playlist that will leave you licking your fingers in the same way as the above dish. We open with Chris Botti & David Sanborn and their version of 'Flamenco Sketches', originally composed by Miles Davis for his album 'A Kind of Blue'. Great cover, this one is, and you also get to eat Pandora's nemesis, a relative of Paul, the omniscient octopus.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I came across Ben E. King, of 'Stand by Me' fame, and realised that he was the guy who had written 'Spanish Harlem', a song associated more often with Aretha Franklin. This performance is superb, I hope you enjoy it.

And to wrap tonight's session up and also to coincide with one of the hottest British summers in years, we're going off camping on a 'Spanish Caravan' accompanied by The Doors. This band deserves their own post, so amazing they were. Here's to the Spanish football team and to La Madre Patria. ¡Olé!

© 2010

Next Post: 'Sunday Mornings: Coffee, Reflections and Music' to be published on Sunday 18th July at 10am (GMT)


  1. Okay you made me hungry now and i just ate :)

  2. Ole!! Fabulous musical selections Cuban.

  3. The recipe sounds yum, but I'm not brave enough to try octopus. Will chicken do in its place? :)

  4. I'm a huge fan of pulpo a la gallega - that looks amazing!
    I had to smile though - my sister and I were joking the after the final that the spanish would probably end up eating the pulpo.... :)

  5. If I may suggest yet another piece of music for this meal, Paco de Lucia - el mundo del flamenco...

  6. Pulpo a la gallega. Oh, yes, I tried it first in Spain last year in the summer, and now I'm intent on cooking at home For myself, alas. My family doesn't seafood. :-(

    Vivienne, both Pacos (de Lucia and Penna) have been played on this blog quite often, so I wanted to give them both a break. :-)

    Many thanks to all for your kind comments.

    Greetings from London.

  7. I was very pleased with Spain’s win (once the US and UK were eliminated.) A culinary treat is a good way to celebrate although I’m not sure we could find octopus in Maine. I remember the Rose in Spanish Harlem from my childhood.

  8. I'll take Spanish-flavoured music anytime, but the octopus leaves me cold. Just can't get over the texture, although overcooking may have been to blame.

    Wonderful win for Spain - but my eyes rolled a tiny bit at the reaction of some Spaniards on French TV, seeing a sporting victory as proof that Spain would soon be on top of the world economically, too. If only it were that easy...

  9. I love octopus... especially when it is cooked right... so delicious and satisfying. I will try this recipe, Cuban. In fact, I have octopus in my freezer... so it is already pre-frozen. I will try it... looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing! ;-)

  10. Pulpo a la gallega! We had it yesterday at my mum's... delicious!!! And thanks for the homage to the World Cup Champions (and Pol the octopus?)... Spain is a MASSIVE party at the moment!

  11. it's been far too long since i paid you a visit!

    i think i may have had octopuc once. in sixth grade. (or was that squid?? hmmmm...)

    but whatever it was i probably only tasted a small piece, seeing how i wasn't too big on trying anything out of the ordinary for me at that time.

    after reading your commentary and prior to clicking on the "spanish harlem" performance, i was cetain that i must have heard that song at some point in my life.

    nope! this was my first time hearing it. great tune and performance!

  12. Okay, the pulpo I will pass on but in a bit of synchronicity I will be featuring tomorrow another Ben King song, Stand By Me.

  13. No lo puedo creer! Te jamaste a Paul!
    jajaja. Aquí te traemos la cañita de cerbatana.
    Un abrazo desde Miami. ;)

    Compadre manda la entrevista a:
    (te mandamos un mail, disculpa la demora)

  14. Gotta love The Doors.

    Congrats on Spain winning. I was supporting Holland because their England's next door neighbours. And their orange shirts are cool. Having said all that I didn't bother to watch the game because it was all too much. England's appalling knockout was the last straw.


  15. Oh the octopus with paprika is really mouthwatering. I love tapas but they are so expensive and you leave unsatisfied. I will try this octopus cooking with squid. Will it still be the same? I don't think we could find octopus at the market.

    Enjoyed the Spanish Harlem tremendously. I am still trying to figure out where did it take me to? Which time and where and who sang it then!

  16. Now that's an eclectic music selection! I never would have thatought of the DOors tune.

  17. Many thanks for your comments.

    Asere, te tiro para alla mannana.

    Greetings from London.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...