The way my schedule currently works, I have heaps of time to fart about during the day before heading to work in the afternoon. The kicker is that I have to work weekends and holidays without fail, so don’t turn green with envy just yet. Anyway, I was looking for something to get me out of the house and interacting with the world instead of just lazing about until 3:30pm, and was quite excited to see Dan’s Twitter announcing “Tentáculo Espectáculo” cooking extravaganza.
I love to cook, and while I’m clearly no Julia Child I still enjoy honing my chops (as if I had any) and learning new things from time to time. Done. I was joined by a couple who was in town visiting from the US so it was nice and intimate – just four of us total. The girl had mean knife skills and put mine to shame, but their Midwestern accents/niceness made up for their intimidating culinary prowess.
Dan had prepared three dishes for us to make, all dealing with squid or octopus. My favorite! I was really excited to finally learn how to clean and prepare the squiggly dudes for once and for all – it’s not even that hard, but something that I’d never really thought about doing. Luckily the class was super hands-on and we got to do pretty much all of the work.
The first dish took the longest – baby octopus confit over a bed of eggplant, fennel, and baby potatoes. Those little octopi simmer in oil and spices for more than an hour before becoming tender amazeballs of joy, and the accompanying veg mix was delicious. I love fennel so any excuse to use it is fine by me.
Then we prepared a baked squid that was so simple it was divine. My favorite part was of course dissecting the beast and digging around in its stomach to see that mine still harbored a half-digested prawn in its insides. COOL. I was a little too excited about that part. Then we just arranged ‘em in a dish, sprinkled them with minced garlic, and into the oven they went! Once they were done cooking, we reduced the sauce leftover and added some chopped parsley and ba-zing! Easy as pie, but really aromatic and flavorful.
The final dish was great because it was proved that it’s not necessary to bread and deep fry calamari rings to make them delicious. And it takes a whopping 3 minutes to put together (30 seconds to cook or they’ll turn all rubbery). The spicy yogurt sauce was the perfect accompaniment – way better than anything mayo-based. The lemon-infused oil really made the difference, too.