Sept 18, 2014
“I’d like to be under the sea…”
Not today, not for my octopus. This morning I heard Mauro on deck talking to someone, and I assumed it was some Croatian with a boat demanding a few hundred koner for anchoring near his home. It was not. It was an older man in a fishing boat, wearing a Speedo (and he wasn’t even Italian, and he was rockin’ it). Not anything like what I believe Hemmingway had in mind for his Old Man and The Sea character. Mauro asked the big question, “Do you want to buy octopus?”
This was a difficult question, one I had avoided by steering clear of fish markets, not thinking about much when I ordered octopus salad- current consumption rate is about 1 OS per 3 on shore meals, I love the stuff- like how cute they are underwater, and how Rudy named every one we saw stuck to a dock, usually Squiggly. They key point being, I love the stuff, and did want to learn how to make it, hoping no part of it involved killing a cute little squiggly eight legged thing that turns blue pink purple and fluoresces underwater while artfully propelling itself through the sea with octopus tentacle clamping maneuvers that can best be described by “octopus propelling itself through water.”
Stop stalling. I said yes if he would clean it and tell me how to cook it. He took out his handy pocket knife, and with the octopus trying to crawl away with 4 or 5 legs, and wrapping around his arm with the remainder, slit open its head, and due to whatever fell out proclaimed it a woman octopus, and spilled her cranial contents into the sea. That’s how you clean it. That’s all. He also cut her in half to make her easier to handle. I was howling, of course, “It’s still alive!?!? I’m sorry Mrs. Octopus!” We would all eat very little or no meat if we had to slaughter every animal we ate. I realize it’s a fish and I have a pretty easy time killing and eating fish, over, say lambs, but it did have 8 squiggly legs and all!
Anyway, here is the short version of the kitchen. I followed his directions and cooked it 2 hours and it was too much. You Tube has better instructions, but none of them yelled at you over the hum of an outboard engine, from a man in a Speedo in a quiet Croatian cove. It turned out pretty good, for overcooked, just an ounce of ouzo to wash it down. Yum!
Smile Mrs. Octopus