Bourdain…Try This!

Here's looking at you kid

Or…we really eat this stuff. I was downloading these pictures and my stomach was turning just editing them, but we bought this stuff off the fish truck, fresh the day we ate it and moaned with the deliciousness of it all with every bite. A verdade de Deus, God’s truth.

These are fresh squid or lulas and the citizen cannot get enough of them, or of polvo (octopus). Most of people in Portugal can’t get enough of them. Grilled, fried, stewed, baked, in a salad, they are devoured with gusto. The first time the citizen grilled lulas he didn’t clean them, he cleaned them after and dosed it with the usual azeite (olive oil, it is a food group here) and it was fabulous. But, then we found out that was really WRONG, you need to clean it BEFORE you cook it.

YouTube is our Portuguese cooking school. Citizen found a video on how to clean lulas and watched it about a hundred and three times. He was ready to rock the lulas. Work space clean, carefully following the virtual chef’s instructions he got those babies so clean they squeaked. It was really messy and very disturbing to watch.

Down to the grill, Tobias the casa de cão (house dog, he went to the farm for the summer) helped him out. Being 100% Portuguese Tobias knew more about grilling lulas than we did. A few minutes on each side and E Pai….we dive into some hot fresh off the grill lulas. Fantastica! Add some fresh tomatoes, onions and black olives from the market and lemons from our tree. Pao from that day’s truck and of course liberally pour on the azeite and you are doing some fancy eatin. And, it is all under about 6 Euros, including the beer and wine.

Tobias offers his advice on grilling

Lula fresh off the grill

But the weirdest creature the master chef has brought home was moray eel. Two steaks, they had spots on them just like the ones I’ve seen on the crazy nature shows where the divers get really close to those evil nasty slimeys. I thought they were poisonous or something.

It's Alive

The fish truck was selling the heck out of them. The fishmonger had not had them before, the citizen had to try it. Our neighbor, an ancient man who sits in front of his casa and gets is regularly screamed at by his esposa, bought an entire huge moray that he threw over his shoulder then shuffled back home for a moray feast. With advice from the mulhers in black (some widows wear traditional black here, head to foot) on how to cook our morays, he went for it.

We had doubts so just to be certain, we googled Moray Eels. Are they really edible? We won’t die from eating it, or feel like we want to die? Nope, good to go, my chef hits the kitchen to clean the thing. Just as nasty dead as it was alive, once clean into the sauté’ pan with lightly coated with flour, azeite and lemon. Flip them once and cook till done.

it's really a moray eel

Disgustingly Delicious

No photo of the finished product, we ate them too fast. They were amazing, so rich and fatty and delicious. It was richer than the most marbled piece of prime steak that any dead cow, no matter how pampered could produce. And it was all the “good” fat, the kind that won’t give you a heart attack, but will prevent one. Wow, who knew?

We won’t be having Moray soon, it was just too rich, but lulas and polvos and any other strange sea creature (except local redfish, that was horrid) are welcome in our kitchen anytime. We are planning to get down to the beach to dig up some clams when the tide is out.

I don’t miss Publix one bit.


3 Responses to Bourdain…Try This!

  1. I Love Squid!!

    I first came to Portugal last year in summer. First thing I ate was filled lulas

  2. I Love Squid!!

    I first came to Portugal last year in summer. First thing I ate was filled squid – lulas recheadas – that was the moment I knew I was going to move to Portugal. And here I am, a year later, been in Portugal for over a month now.

    Either way. Bom Apetite.

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