This month the Italian Food, Wine & Travel - #ItalianFWT - blogging group is traveling to Puglia. Follow along the journey with my fellow #ItalianFWT bloggers. You can also chat with us live this Saturday morning at 11am EST on Twitter at #ItalianFWT. Hope to see you there!
Puglia, a region in southern Italy, forms the heel of the Italian boot. It's known for its sunny weather and hundreds of miles of Mediterranean coastline. I was always intrigued by the trulli of Alberobello and the surrounding Itria Valley but I never made it to that part of Italy. Just one more reason to go back.
Join us live on Twitter Saturday April 2nd at 11am EST @ #ItalianFWT to chat about Puglia. Here's more from my fellow bloggers:
In My Empty Glass...
- Vino Travels - Penne Con I Broccoli & Salice Salento
- Paradise of Exiles - Three Wine Bars in Lecce
- Orna O'Reilly - A Taste of Puglia
- Culinary Adventures with Camilla - Insalata con Polpi in Umido e Patate
- Food Wine Click - Primitivo and Pasta from the Heel of the Boot
- Rockin Red Blog - Puglia: TakeMe Away!
- Cooking Chat - Pasta withChicken Sausage and Kale
- The Palladian Traveler - Savoring the Salento
- Vigneto Communications -Indigenous Grapes of Puglia
- Postcardz from Victoria - A Tuscan Wine Legend Finds Inspiration in Puglia
- The Wining Hour - Pleasures of Puglia: Primitivo, Cavatelli and Shrimp & Eggplant Arrabbiata
Okay, so my bottle of Pugliese wine didn't make it into the car on our way up to Tahoe for Spring break. Boo. So, I'll blog about that another time. But, we are having a great time up here.
On the Plate...
On the Plate...
Much of Italy's everyday meals are deeply rooted in the cucina povera tradition. While it literally means 'poor kitchen' it's more about a philosophy of relying on simple, fresh, and local foods. In a nod to Puglia's vast farmland and coastline, I decided to go with a dish that featured both produce and seafood.
Insalata con Polpi in Umido e Patate
Salad with Stewed Octopus and Potatoes
- 2 pounds baby octopus, cleaned
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and diced
- 1 onion, peeled and diced
- olive oil
- 1 jar marinated baby artichokes including marinade
- 1 C red wine
- freshly ground salt
- freshly ground pepper
- baby or fingerling potatoes
- salad greens
- olive oil for drizzling
- juice from 1 organic lemon
In a large pan, cook the fennel bulb and onion in a splash of olive oil until softened and beginning to turn translucent. Add in the octopus and artichokes plus marinade. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Let braise for 1 hour. If it gets too dry add in a splash of wine.
After an hour, pour in the red wine and bring everything back to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let braise while you roast the potatoes. If there is still some liquid in the octopus at the end of the hour, raise the heat to reduce the sauce.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the fingerling potatoes into quarters lengthwise. Lay them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle them with olive oil. Place them in the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through and crispy on the outside. Just before serving, spoon the roasted potatoes into the braised octopus. Toss to coat.
To serve, lay salad greens on your serving plates. Spoon the octopus-potato mixture on top. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.