Tag Archives: kipfler

Pulpo a la Gallega

Octopus. The idea of it is so appealing when you see it on a menu… slow cooked, char grilled, tender and fleshy, new born into a sea of olive oil and garlic and Mediterranean fantasy. You could be sitting in a trattoria in Italy, a taverna in Greece, or a whatever they call a place where you get drunk and eat good food anywhere else. It’s a holiday dish, the kind of food you eat when you’re off somewhere else far from home pretending to be young and adventurous and carefree. “I’ll have the octopus and a carafe of the house white” You say with a confidence born from a sun tan you really don’t deserve.

Then long after the memory of the holiday and the tan have faded, you’re back home trying to explain to all your friends just how amazing this octopus dish you had was…So you pick up one up in the local fish monger, and the grim reality of this carnivorous marine mollusk sets in. Octopuses are not pretty creatures. They’re long, wet, slimy, unwieldy things that defy your attempts to nicely put them in a bag, and once you do, more closely resemble the contents of a larger animals stomach, than something you should consider eating.

Of course, we are in the fortunate position in 2012 of knowing that millions of people have gone before us to both cook and enjoy this wonderful creature, and the advent of modern fishing has made it’s capture and transportation to our homes much simpler than bygone eras where you had to wrestle with one yourself. Risking life, limb and ink-eye to get your evening meal.

So in true “What I did on my holidays” fashion, here is a dish that I came to love while traveling around the north of Colombia. It is of course of a classic Spanish dish from the North West region of Galicia, from which it’s name is derived Pulpo alla Gallega (Galician Octopus).

Now there are many areas of conjecture as to which approach to take to cooking the octopus, so I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that my way is the right way, but it worked well for me the few times I’ve made it, so let your conscience be your guide as to how you do yours.

Ingredients

  • 1 large fresh octopus (~1kg in weight)
  • ~1kg potatoes (waxy ones like Ruby Lou or Kipfler work well)
  • The best Spanish sweet paprika you can find
  • Good quality olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh flat leaf parlsey
  • 1 bay leaf

How I made mine

Gingerly take your octopus by the top part, which hopefully has the head and beak removed, and is comprised of a ring where all the legs are attached. In a large bowl in the sink, wash the octopus well in cold water. Some people say you should freeze the octopus before you start, as that helps to tenderise it, but I haven’t felt the need to do that (it gets perfectly tender when it’s cooked for long enough).

Then in the biggest pot you can find (the Spanish say it needs to be a copper pot, but I think you can do just fine without), fill with water and a bay leaf and bring to the boil.

Once the water is boiling carefully dunk the octopus into the water and leave it there for 30 seconds. You’ll see the water stops boiling as the cold octopus lowers the temperature, so after 30 seconds, take it back out and let the water come to the boil again. This process of dunking into boiling water is supposed to set the gelatine in the legs and helps to preserve the texture you want.

Dunk the octopus back in and out of the water 3 more times and then leave it in there for around 40 minutes on a high simmer until you can pierce it with a knife and it’s soft inside with some resistance outside.

About 20 minutes into the cooking processes, peel the potatoes and drop them into the pot with the octopus whole. They’ll cook along with the octopus and absorb all that briny flavour. They’ll also turn a slightly alarming shade of red, which you shouldn’t be scared by.

Then when the potatoes and octopus are cooked, take them out and let them cool down on a board, before cutting the octopus into round slices along the leg, and slicing the potato into slightly larger rounds. The arrange the potatoes on a plate or board, season liberally with good sea salt and olive oil, and then add a layer of octopus to the top. Season again with more oil, a healthy sprinkling of paprika, and some finely chopped fresh parsley.

Serve it on it’s own, with some crusty bread, or as the first course in a Spanish feast. Make sure you have plenty of crisp white wine, invite a few people who understand what it’s all about, and enjoy the satisfaction that you can bring the best of the world to your door step if you really want to.

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Oven Baked Dhufish with Lemon Cream Sauce

about to be oven baked dhufish

First off, I know… I’ve been slack. But this crazy season leading up to Christmas, coupled with a little change of timezone for Western Australia means I’ve been really busy. Not Y2K busy, but still taking all the necessary precautions to make sure that the world doesn’t end for any West Australians around 2am on December the 3rd…

So now the prerequisite excuses are out of the way… it’s time to talk fish… Dhufish to be specific. A beautiful flakey white fish that is delicate yet flavourful while not having the overly fishyness that puts many people off.

I picked up a whole fish, minus head, tail, and guts, from the nice people at Atlantic Seafood (which I’m hoping is not where they get it all from), on William St in Northbridge. Having no idea what to do with it, but realising I had no interest in filleting it and picking out all the bones. I figured baking it in the oven as cutlets and forewarning Sharon of the impending choking hazard was a good way to go.

So…

Cut up the fish into nice thick cutlets, season with olive oil, salt, and pepper, slice up a few lemons and good handful of coriander. Heat the oven to 180C and layer the sliced lemon in a baking dish. Put the fish cutlets on top, and then another layer of lemon and the coriander. I then splashed a bit of verjuice around the dish as well, not sure if it made any difference or not, but I figured it couldn’t hurt, and I’ve been mad keen on verjuice ever since using it recently for my chermoula snapper.

Into the oven for about 20 minutes or so, turned once, and we’re ready for the plate.

I served the fish with a warm kipfler potato salad that went quite well.

Once the potato salad and fish were plated, I took the baking dish, which was now covered with a layer of baked on bits of fish, lemon, and coriander. I deglazed the pan over heat with some white wine and fish stock, and the juice of all the lemon slices, then let it reduce slightly and then stirred through
some double cream.

Strain out the pips and dodgy bits through a sieve, and we’re good to go. Some of obligatory dodgy presentation and it’s a meal fit for a king… And what’s more… not one choking situation ! The lemon juice came through the sauce really well… so make sure you add plenty if you decide to give it a run. And do keep an eye on the fish, it will go from juicy melt in mouth to dry as the Kalahari in a very short space of time.

Just the kind of dish for a hot summer night, with a crisp glass of unwooded Chardonnay to take the edge off.

oven baked dhufish cutlets with lemon and coriander

Spiced Duck with Cauliflower Puree

Spiced Duck with Cauliflower Puree and Kipfler Potatoes

Every now and then I get a fancy idea in my head, and for whatever reason I decide to run with it. Last Friday night was just such an occasion.

I had previously purchased a whole duck from the butcher, and had been waiting and thinking about what I was going to do with it, when I finally gave up and decided to make it up as I went along. I had invited friends over with the promise of duck for dinner, and now I had to pony up the goods (note to self… never promise anyone anything).

So after a quick search of the internet on how to debone a chicken (or duck, or other object with bones and meat shaped like a chicken or duck), I put my trusty Wusthof to work and portioned the duck off into it’s various bits and pieces. Seperated legs and thighs, wings, and breasts into sections, and collected all the bones togther in a slightly macabre little pile.

Still having no idea what I was going to make, I decided that I wasn’t going to waste the duck bones, so into the pan they went, with a little olive oil to help them brown, once done, into a pot of water with a carrot, onion, leek, fennel, and mushrooms to turn into duck stock. Having then discovered that we did in fact have a whole bag of dried Shitake mushrooms, another idea came to mind. Whatever I was going to make would be dressed with a shitake mushroom and red wine jus.

Now at the same time as the stock was boiling away, I had another idea. Having been titillated by Jules use of duck fat to roast Jerusalem artichokes, I figured I’d get down with the duck fat action myself. So I harvested as much of the precious goop as I could from the skin and bits of duck I had seperated, it was all thrown into a pot over a low heat to render down into delicious fatty ducky goodness.

Ok, so now I knew I was cooking duck… making shitake mushroom sauce, and cooking something in duck fat. Next… check fridge for other vegetables and it uncovered a cauliflower. Now there was no way I was going to serve steamed cauliflower, and so the next logical step was cauliflower puree. Into a pot it went along with a little leek and some milk to gently poach until it was nice and soft. At which point I seasoned it well and threw it all in the blender.

Now it was all turning into a meal. I had cauliflower puree, I had duck, I had sauce… Next choice, something to sit under the duck. A quick check of the pantry uncovered just what I wanted, my much loved Kipfler potatoes. Perfect for sauteeing. I did cheat a little and par boiled them in salted water to start with, just to make life easier… and when they were a little soft, into a hot pan with the duck fat to sautee away until nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Now to the duck. Inspiration still wasn’t striking me and so I went back to basics. A spice rub containing fennel seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper, salt, and cloves… I would have used star anise as well, but I’d run out. I had four portions to cook, the individual breasts (with skin on) and the maryland pieces (drumsticks with thighs attached). A smothering in olive oil and then into the pan they went, breasts skin side down. Once they were cooking away, I put a good sized knob of butter into the pan and basted the pieces in butter and the juices a little, giving each piece a poke every now and then to see how done it was.

Duck is quite a dark meat, something that turns some people off when they compare it to chicken. It has a much richer and meatier flavour however, and hence if you’re cooking a breast fillet you should try and get it a nice medium so it doesn’t dry out and go rubbery.

Once the duck was just cooked but still lovely and moist, I took it out of the pan and left it to rest, while making the sauce. Basically a red wine jus using pinot noir to deglaze and the duck stock I’d made earlier. Adding in a couple of handfuls of shitake mushrooms that had been soaking in warm water. Some cornflour to thicken slightly, and a knob of butter to finish.

Spiced Duck with Cauliflower Puree and Kipfler Potatoes

So now I was basically done. I poured the cauliflower puree onto each place, stacked a little mound of the sauteed potatoes in the middle, sliced the duck into relatively uniform sized pieces and layered them on top, and casually (read: sloppily) drizzled the mushroom jus over the top.

Served with a side of garlic infused steamed beans and bok choy.

Our guests were kind enough to bring along a tasty bottle of Shiraz Cabernet that went just nicely with the richness of the duck and the earthy shitake mushrooms.

Not bad for a “throw it all together at the last minute” recipe… Not bad at all.

Kipfler Potato Salad with Saffron & Kaffir Lime

Saffron Kipfler Potato Salad with Kaffir Lime Zest

This was a really easy salad to make. Well actually, the only reason I ever make salads is because I think they’ll be easy, and quick to throw together, and this was a perfect example.

Sister B was coming over for a look at the new place and a quick bbq (and to once again avail me of my technical expertise in all things internet).

I remembered I had some nice Queensland Kipfler potatoes slowly growing sprouts in the cupboard, and so the choice was simple. Kipfler potatoes are excellent in potato salads, they have a really lovely waxy texture that can stand up to all the other flavours in the salad and still hold its own. Not crumbling into little pieces like your pansy Nadines, or wussy Ruby Lous.

So a bit of a twist to the normal preparation. Sprinkle a few strands of grade A saffron into the pot while the nicely sliced chunks of kipfler potato are boiling away (with a little salt). When they are cooked to your desired level of softness (and nice and yellow coloured from the saffron), drain the water off and stir through a couple of tablespoons of nice whole egg mayonnaise. At this point you can go any direction you like with this. I was lucky enough to have procured a Kaffir Lime (apparently, and not suprisingly, the product of the Kaffir Lime tree, perhaps more famous for it’s leaves than anything else). So to my potatoes and mayonnaise I added, a few handfuls of shredded leek, the zest of a Kaffir lime, some cracked pepper, and handful of baby spinach. The end result was a lovely tangy creamy mixture, that went just nicely with a quickly seared minute steak and some garlic butter mushrooms.

Saffron Kipfler Potato Salad with Kaffir Lime Zest

If you’re looking for a list of ingredients and instructions you won’t find one, but read between the lines and all will be revealed.

Salut.

Moroccan Lamb Rack with Spiced Kipfler Potato Salad

Morroccan Lamb with Spiced Kipfler Potato Salad

Sorry the photos are blurry and out of focus. It was late and I was getting hungry…

This meal consists of basically the same kind of potato salad as was used recently in my rack of pork recipe, but this time with the inclusion of some lebanese cucumber, cumin, and red cabbage, to give it a little Moroccan/Turkish/vaguely Middle Eastern or North African flavour.

The lamb rack was marinated in olive oil, salt, pepper, lime juice, and cumin before being grilled, sliced, and clumsily arranged on a plate…

Honey Braised Rack of Pork with Kipfler Potato Salad

I’m not the biggest fan of pork, but occasionally like to dabble with it. This is one of my more successful dabblings.
The only rule i’ve learnt is that honey and pork go well together (i got that mostly from the fact that most pork flavoured snacks also contain some form of honey flavouring). So it must be a match made in heaven… because this was delicious.

Recipe to follow… but for now, note the use of Kipfler potatoes in the salad… tres yummy.

Kipfler Potatoes

Kipfler Potatoes (by Abstract Gourmet)

Apparently people have been coming to my page looking for ‘Kifler’ potatoes. Well i had inadvertently spelt ‘Kipfler’ wrong in an earlier post, and so i thought i’d best correct the matter, as well as give those hardcore kipfler fans out there the real deal.

Kipfler (or German Finger Potato) are a waxy potato, finger shaped with creamy-coloured flesh. They are great boiled, steamed and in potato salads and look awesome for presentation purposes.

They just scream out to be sliced in funky angular type patterns, and i always feel a little guilty chopping them into chunks to boil them up. You can find my other uses of Kipfler potatoes by clicking the recipes catgerory in the menu.

If you’re one of the people who’s been looking for Kipfler potatoes and got here somehow, please let me know by leaving a comment.

Check out the related posts below to see recipes i’ve made that use Kipfler potatoes.