Monday, November 15, 2010

Odysseus' Hands

Homer! What a wonderful place to look for recipes, oh yes! This one is inspired by Book V, lines 432-435 of the Odyssey. At this point, Odysseus is swimming in the ocean trying not to drown and he grabs onto a rock. But, alas, a wave washes over him and he is pulled off the rock - cue Homeric simile -  "As when an octopus is dragged away from its shelter and thickly clustered pebbles stick in the cups of the tentacles, so in contact with the rock the skin from his bold hands was torn away. Now the sea covered him over."(tr. Lattimore) Now, you might say, "wow, is this passage talking about how Odysseus is crafty like that famous crafty animal, the octopus? I mean, didn't Paul the octopus predict the entire freaking world cup?" Or, "Wait the rocks are stuck in the octopus' tentacles just like the skin is ripped from Odysseus' hands? Isn't that kind of backwards?" Look, stop focusing on those esoteric issues! Lets instead make this a tasty dish and get cooking!
Odysseus' Hands
1 pound squid tentacles
2-4 Tablespoons Pine nuts
2 Tablespoons celery chopped to the size of pine nuts
2 Tablespoons red bell pepper chopped to size of Pine nuts
Tablespoon of mince shallot
Olive oil, salt, pepper, white wine, lemon
1) Okay, first add your olive oil (2-4 tablespoons or so) in your pan. Turn on heat, high heat.
2) Add pine nuts. As the oil heats, swirl the pine nuts so they start to get wonderful and golden colored. 3) When they look beautiful, add shallot, celery, and pepper.
4) After a minute or so, really just enough time for the pan to get back to temperature, add the squid tentacles. Over at Reading Terminal Market, one can buy just the tentacles for cheaper than the whole bodies. Why squid rather than octopus, you ask? Squid is easier to cook than octopus.
5) Oh, it should just be a sizzling now. Add some white wine. 2-4 Tablespoons say. 
6) Add black pepper (see it looks like sand ...) and taste for salt. 
7) When squid is cooked (oh for gods sake do not overcook your squid and make Odysseus' Rubber Hands!) turn out dish onto serving platter and squeeze fresh lemon wedges over all.
See, the squid tentacles groups are his hands and the vegetables are the pebbles! Holy moly is that awesome, yes! 
Eat that long-suffering, crafty man's hands! More Homer to come! 


Anonymous said...

Just testing to see if I can comment on this blog!

Lew said...

Aha! After a few days of trying to comment on this blog, I have figured out I can comment using Safari, but not using Firefox. No idea why, or if it's just me. But, Mr. Morton, it's worth looking into.

Lew said...

Now I can leave a comment. So here goes:

Did the ancient Greeks eat octopi and squid, or just write questionable metaphors about them?

Jake Morton said...

As far as I know, they ate them. But I cannot think of any direct citation either pro or con right now. But, I'll keep an eye out. The Romans definitely did because it is in Apicius. I cannot think of a reason why the Greeks would not have eaten them because they are plentiful and delicious.