Pulpo al Ajillo
Pulpo al Ajillo (roughly, “Octopus in Garlic Sauce”) is a good mid-week lunch for working folk, if you have some prepared pulpo in your fridge (which the Grub Blogger makes sure is always the case.) The dish is just a simple garlic sauce, tossed with the pulpo, and served with rice or patacones. (See my entry on pulpo for how to prepare the octopus) This dish is found in just about everything Panamanian restaurant, but is especially good the closer you are to the sea. Like other Panamanian dishes, I have added a few elements from my days in New Orleans and cooking school to the classic preparation. I use some lime zest, cajun seasoning and herbs de provence, along with loads of fresh garlic. The other ingredients are butter and olive oil, which form the base of the sauce. This dish comes together quickly, so make sure you have any side dishes ready beforehand.
Heat up some butter and olive oil in a pan, and add the seasoning.
Pat the mixture down with a wooden spoon, and then shake the pan to cook the garlic. After a minute or two, the kitchen should be smelling really good and the garlic should start to take on an almost woody color.
Put in your pulpo, and toss to coat. Then cook on a medium flame, tossing every 30 seconds, or so, until the pulpo is warm and the flavors have combined - about 3 mintues in total.
Season with salt, pepper and a squeze of fresh lemon juice.