Sunday, June 8, 2008

What is the number one thing NOT to be carrying when you get your car towed in Manhattan?

You guessed it. A five-pound octopus. "Why the hell?", might you ask, "would someone obtain such a creature?" That is irrelevant. What IS relevant is how we had to tote this guy to the impound lot on 38th and 12th, pay an ungodly amount of money (do you know how many octopi I could have purchased?!!!), wait in a small room with bulletproof windows for an obscene amount of time with other angry New Yorkers in order to retrieve my car. It was 4pm. I had 2 hours to get home to meet my lovely dinner guests and transform my octopus into dinner. Were we deterred? Never. It occurred to me that if I had no alternative but to be stuck in a small room for way too long with city employees who (I am convinced) were relishing the collective shame and discomfort of my fellow traffic violators, then what harm could it do to have a bag packed full of dead fish - an olfactory time bomb just waiting to go off. The Sous Chef of course was an ocean of calm through all of this. While I envisioned myself pelting window number two with raw mussels, he sat unmoved, coolly contemplating the universe.
So, we obviously made it home. My lovely dinner guests, one of whom is a chef in Seattle and has done some time with an octopi or two, stepped right up to the plate and decided to cook US dinner for a change. I gladly accepted and took over as official photographer for the evening. In this pot, the Seattle chef put: red wine, cork from the wine bottle (apparently every Greek fisherman and grandmother recommends this trick), a LOT of lemon, even more salt, some herbs, an onion or two and the beast. Cover and boil for 1.5 hours.
Out of the pot the Creature emergeth...and onto the chopping block!
After a quick trip to the charcoal grill and a toss with parsley, more lemon, chickpeas, garlic and olive oil, we had a delicious grilled octopus salad -- which was only course # 1 of an entire evening's worth of luxurious post-impound dining. A sincere thank you to my new friend the Seattle chef who saw how tired we were, whisked in and saved us all from an evening of sub-par Thai takeout from the corner.

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