Modernist Cuisine Pulpo a la Gallega

“Modernist Cuisine” is an amazing set of books by Nathan Myhrvold and a team. It was supposed to be a single book on sous-vide cooking, but things got a little out of hand and it ended up being a 5-volume standard textbook on a modernist approach to cooking. It actually also covers traditional cooking techniques. I’ve had the books for two years and I still haven’t finished ‘reading’ them completely. When I do, and I intend to, I will write more about them. It is good to know that in the meantime a smaller version called “Modernist Cuisine at Home” has been published, which is probably more suitable for home use. That wasn’t around yet when I got my copy.

The fifth volume contains recipes for plated dishes. These are complex recipes that are fare more suitable for gourmet restaurants than for the home kitchen. Many take multiple days to prepare and fancy equipment like a centrifuge or a pacojet. I’ve used information the Modernist Cuisine books in my cooking from when I got them, but so far I had not ventured into the daunting fifth volume. When Auldo came over to cook, I thought it would be nice to finally try some of the plated dishes. He has quite some experience with complicated modernist dishes, because he’s cooked his way through Heston Blumenthal’s Big Fat Duck Cookbook. We browsed through the recipes and selected two for which we had the equipment and the time (as it was Friday when we did the selection for what to cook between then and Sunday). We selected a ‘shrimp cocktail’ and a modernist take on the Spanish (well, Galician) classic of Pulpo a la Gallega, octopus with potatoes. This post covers the octopus, the shrimp will follow soon. Continue reading “Modernist Cuisine Pulpo a la Gallega”

Improved Octopus Carpaccio using Transglutaminase

Octopus cooked sous-vide is very flavorful and tender, and sliced thinly as carpaccio is a great way of serving it. Last year I prepared octopus carpaccio, but the slices fell apart. I tried adding gelatin and that didn’t help. Then I decided next time I would try to use a ‘meat glue’ enzyme called transglutaminase. I didn’t get around to doing that, and then I forgot about it until the succesful experiment I performed with Activa and duck breast. I prepared it exactly the same way, except that I added 2% transglutaminase by weight. And guess what? It worked! Perfect slices that didn’t fall apart. Continue reading “Improved Octopus Carpaccio using Transglutaminase”

Grilled Octopus with Octopus Sponge, Bell Pepper Coulis and Romanesco

This is another dish that came out of the collaboration with Teun and Albert. I wanted Teun to try octopus sous-vide, and I remember how much I liked the char-grilled octopus at La Madia in Sicily. Although we ended up doing something different, our original idea was to do something along the lines of the octopus dish from La Madia. That dish featured a rock. Due to timing constraints (and also because the rock at La Madia wasn’t very tasty even though it looked great), we decided to go for a soft octopus sponge cake instead.

Recently, Paul of That Other Cooking Blog wrote about a microwave brioche. This is a trick that was originally devised by Ferran Adrià of El Bulli. A batter with a lot of eggs is siphoned into paper cups with nitrous oxide and then cooked for 30 seconds in a microwave oven to get a sponge cake. As octopus leaks a lot of juices when cooked, we thought it would be nice to reduce those juices to a thick octopus syrup and use that to flavor a sponge. We thought it would pair well with a bell pepper coulis, and when we realised our menu needed more vegetables we also included some oven-roasted romanesco (green cauliflower). Continue reading “Grilled Octopus with Octopus Sponge, Bell Pepper Coulis and Romanesco”

Carpaccio of Sous-vide Octopus (Carpaccio di Polpo)

Octopus can be very tough and bland, but when you cook it sous-vide it will be tender and flavorful. I wrote about sous-vide octopus (Insalata di Polpo) before, but since octopus sous-vide is so good and I saw a nice idea on GialloZafferano that enables you to slice the octopus more thinly, I decided to write about it some more. The photos on GZ suggest that you can actually get slices of octopus ‘sausage’, but since there is no ‘glue’ to hold them together that doesn’t happen and the slices fall apart. It still looks great, and the thin slices make the … Continue reading Carpaccio of Sous-vide Octopus (Carpaccio di Polpo)

Octopus sous-vide (Insalata di Polpo)

Welcome to Stefan’s Gourmet Blog!  You can find an overview of my sous-vide recipes as well as times and temperatures by clicking on “Sous-Vide” above.  If you like what you see here, you can sign up on the sidebar to receive an email whenever I post a new recipe. Octopus is often very tough and bland of taste. However if you cook it sous-vide, it will be extremely tender and flavorful! I made a classic Italian Insalata di Polpo and served it with grilled peppers as an antipasto. First I sealed the octopus legs into a pouch with some thin lemon … Continue reading Octopus sous-vide (Insalata di Polpo)