Category Archives: Seafood

Fish and seafood recipes

Traditional Spanish Octopus Salad

Octopus salad
Octopus salad, ensalada de pulpo, is a traditional Spanish tapas dish.

Octopus Salad, or ensalada de pulpo or in Málaga area pipirrana con pulpo, is a typical Spanish tapas. Actually pipirrana is the salad and you can find it in tapas bars combined with mussels, shrimps and, of course, octopus.

We had a half of whole octopus in our freezer from previous cooking. Fresh octopus actually gets more tender if it’s frozen first and then defrozen before cooking it. There are many ways to make octopus tender, but this is by far the easiest way to do it. Some people massage the tentacles with an empty wine bottle to make it tender. Another trick is to put some citrus fruits in the boiling water and the most important of all – a wine bottle cork! I’ve no idea what it does, but Spaniards always cook their octopus with a wine bottle cork. Go figure.

Ingredients for Spanish Octopus Salad for 4 Servings

  • 1/2 medium size octopus – medio de pulpo
  • 1 lemon – limón
  • a pinch of sea salt – sal marina
  • a pinch of spicy Spanish smoked paprika – pimentón picante
  • 1 red bell paprika – pimiento rojo
  • 1 green paprika – pimiento italiano
  • 1 onion – cebolla
  • 3 tomatoes – tomates
  • a punch of coriander – cilantro
  • 2 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
  • 1 lime – lima
  • 1 dl (1/2 cup) of extra virgin olive oil – aceite olive virgen extra
  • 1/3 dl (1/6 cup) of Jerez vinegar – vinagre de Jerez

First prepare the octopus. Tenderize it by freezing or massaging. Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Add the lemon cut in half. Dip the octopus first into the boiling water for 5 seconds and raise in the air. Repeat this 3-4 times until the tentacles are curvy and place it in the boiling water. Let the octopus cook for 35-45 minutes. If you have any citrus fruit leftovers, you can place them in the cooking water as well (we had some pineapple skins from the breakfast). And don’t forget the cork! Use a fork to test when the octopus is tender. When done, place it on a cutting board to cool while preparing the salad.

Chop the vegetables into 1 cm (1/2″) cubes. Finely chop garlic and coriander and combine all ingredients in a bowl. Squeeze the juice of the lime and combine with olive oil and vinegar. If you don’t have Jerez vinegar, you can replace it with red or white wine vinegar. Add the oil mixture into the salad and season with sea salt to taste.

Chop the octopus into 1/2 cm (1/4″) slices and season with salt and smoked paprika. Combine with the salad and enjoy with white wine or dry sherry, Manzanilla.

¡Buen provecho!

Salmon Sandwich Cake

Salmon sandwich cake
Salmon sandwich cake is a perfect Christmas dish!

Idea for this sandwich cake came from this year’s Lidl‘s Christmas magazine. This dish was on the cover and we decided to give it a try. As you can see, it turned out great and was tasty as well!

Ingredients for Salmon Sandwich Cake

  • 500 g (1 lbs) of cold smoked salmon – salmón ahumado
  • 2 dl (1 cup) of mayonnaise
  • 2 dl (1 cup) of peeled shrimps – langostinos
  • 1 spring onion – cebollita
  • 2 eggs – huevos
  • 6 slices of toast – pan tostada
  • 5 tablespoons of capers – alcaparras
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra
  • dill for garnishing – eneldo
  • 1 lemon for garnishing – limón
  • a punch of arugula for garnishing – rúcula
  • a splash of olive oil – aceite oliva

First make the mayonnaise. Chop spring onions. If the shrimps are very big, cut them in half, too. Mix them with the mayonnaise. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Boil the eggs (5-6 minute eggs work fine).

Splash some olive oil on to the mold (a plastic container will do fine) and spread the oil evenly throughout the edges. This makes removing the cake from the mold easier.

Place layers of smoked salmon all over the mold. Leave edges hanging outside of the mold.Remove the crust from the toast slices. Cut them so that they fit into the  mold.  Place the ingredients on top of the salmon in the following order:

  1. bread
  2. mayonnaise mixture
  3. bread
  4. egg slices
  5. 2 tablespoons of capers
  6. bread

Turn the salmon edges on top of the last layer of bread and seal the lid. Let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours before serving. Garnish with capers, slices of lemon, arugula and dill.

¡Buen provecho!

Bouillabaisse – French Fish Soup

Bouillabaisse - French fish soup
Bouillabaisse – French fish soup

Bouillabaisse represents French country style cooking at its best. Before you can appreciate or even cook bouillabaisse you have to understand the philosophy behind this dish. In the old days fisherman brought their catch to a local village daily. Those who wanted to cook a good fish soup bought three different fishes and some mussels. Then they headed to the vegetable counter to get some carrots, onions and tomatoes. The cooking method combines making a stock and making a soup without wasting anything. The gutted fishes were first filleted and the bones were used for making the stock. After a half an hour of simmering the fish bones were replaced with the filets. Voilá, the soup was ready and it was served with fresh bread and rouille, garlic paste.

Since we had some homemade fish stock in the freezer, we didn’t need to use the bones. But if you don’t have fish stock at hand, we strongly recommend using the bones to cook the stock from the scratch because it’s so easy!

The list of vegetables can vary depending what you have in the fridge. As long as you have some tomatoes, onions, leek, fennel and carrots, you can use additional vegetables whatever you have on hand.

Ingredients for Bouillabaisse for 4+ Servings

  • 1 kg (2 lbs.) of fish, shrimps and mussels – mariscos
  • 1/2 litre (2 1/2 cups) of fish stock (or water, if you are making the stock now from scrach) – caldo de pescado o agua
  • 1 bottle of white wine – vino blanco
  • 2 onions – cebollas
  • 1 spring onion – cebollita
  • 1 fennel – hinojo
  • 1/2 leek – puerro
  • 5 tomatoes with skins removed – tomates
  • 3 carrots – zanahornas
  • 2 paprikas – pimientos
  • 1 zucchini – calabacín
  • 4 bay leaves – hojas de laurel
  • a splash of olive oil – aceite oliva
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • freshly ground black pepper – pimienta negra

Cut all the vegetables into cubes and fry them in olive oil for 3 minutes. If you are making fish stock now, add water, white wine and the fish bones. Season with bay leaves, salt and pepper and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the bones, but leave vegetables into the soup.

If you have ready made fish stock, add the stock and white wine on top of the vegetables and let it simmer for 30 minutes.

Cut the fish fillets into thumb size knobs and add them along with shrimps to the soup 5 minutes before serving. If you have mussels, let them simmer in the soup until they open.

Ingredients for Rouille

  • 1 big floury potato – patata harinosa
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil – aceite oliva
  • 2 cloves of garlic – dientes de ajo
  • a pinch of dried chili – pimiento picante seco
  • 4 egg yolks – yemas
  • sea salt – sal marina
  • ground black pepper – pimienta negra

Cook the potato and add all ingredients except olive oil into the blender. Start adding the oil into the mixture slowly as a steady stream while the blender is running. Keep pouring until the mixture is sauce-like. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper, if needed. Place a slice of country style bread on the soup plate and scoop some rouille on top.

¡Buen provecho!

And by the way, it’s our first anniversary! Our first post was exactly 1 year ago!