Re-created dishes from my travels

Well, if you can’t travel to Italy, bring Italy 🇮🇹 to you. Our world 🌎 is still in a full force of a pandemic. Basically, and I do mean basically, we’re only knee deep in it. Watching the news the other day, I heard that Europe has blocked the USA from entering their region. As a matter of fact, out of 195 countries on this planet, Americans are only eligible to enter 24 countries. And, that’s with the understanding of doing a 14 day quarantine, immediately upon landing. So the countries I’ve had the pleasure to visit, I’m curious and excited to recreate the delicious foods I had the opportunity to eat. As a culinary enthusiast, I love to challenge myself, and I had a challenge indeed. First up, Italy, Capri.

Grilled octopus and Capri salad in Capri, Italy

I’ve never in my life prepared and cooked an octopus. I was definitely up for the challenge, but I’m also a protectionist with a tad bit of OCD. One of the good things about preparing this dish, was that the octopus was frozen and cleaned. So my only job was braising and grilling it.

Step by step prep for braising octopus

So, I’m pretty much over the fear of handling this beautiful sea creature, by the way, it was $14 a pound, and payed $54 for him. So, that would make him over three pounds, and braising is ten minutes for each pound. I figured 35 to 40 minutes.

My braising ingredients consisted of a mir-a-poix (onions, carrots and celery), little salt in the water, one cup of white wine. And, a wine cork. Yes a wine cork! Supposedly it’s a myth, but I heard chefs live by this method and boil the octopus with a wine cork, and the octopus will be tender and not chewing.

So far so good. I marinated this bad boy in some olive oil and garlic for an hour in the fridge after braising for 40 minutes. (10 minutes for every pound) Cut him up and grilled him.

My recreation of grilled octopus and Capri salad in my kitchen in New York

Now the above pic is my version of my amazing lunch, and day trip in Capri. I loved the grilled taste of the octopus, and thank God it was not chewy or rubbery (it may be true about that wine cork 🤷🏼‍♀️). And, of course the capri salad was delicious! With some olive oil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar, my mouth was watering at every bite (at least that’s what I remember when I was in Capri). My fondest memories of Capri was not just the food, or the beautiful sailing around the island (check out the sailing video below). But, my proudest memory was that I got on a plane, cancelled my fears, and went half way around the world and experience a once in a lifetime trip, but God willing, if won’t be my last time in discovering more of Italy.

I’ve gained so much courage. I’m still living on the fumes of this positive adventure.

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