Yes, I ate octopus balls on Sunday evening.
Sorry to let you down, but the octopus balls in question were not some exotic, hard to find microscopic Italian delicacy, believe it or not. They had absolutely nothing to do with the nether regions of male octopuses either, I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear, especially if you happen to be passing literate male octopus.
These octopus balls were a merely mixture of octopus, potato, a few breadcrumbs and some parmesan cheese.
The outside of the balls were covered in breadcrumbs, a process which kept two seven year olds out of mischief for a while. Then said balls were fried in olive oil – I did suggest frying them in sunflower oil, but Cristina the creator of the octopus balls had never heard of sunflower oil, and opted for what is normal in Italy, in other words, safe and reliable olive oil.
Good Octopus Balls
How were these octopus balls? Very good, I have to say. I ended up full to the eyeballs of the things.
Over one and a half kilos of octopus went into the production of the balls, but I think they might have tasted even better if that quantity had been doubled. I would have added more cheese too.
Here is a photograph of the octopus balls going golden brown while being fried in olive oil:
In Italian, octopus balls would be referred to as ‘polpette di polipo‘, which, you may agree, is much more elegant than octopus balls, but their close cousins, meatballs contain meat, so it is logical that the octopus equivalent, should be translated as octopus balls, I suppose. Or maybe I could call them ‘octoballs’? That’d certainly catch your eye, if it appeared on a menu. Not sure anyone would dare order it though!
I believe that octopus balls can also be found on plates down in the Puglia region of Italy, where I believe the recipe originated, though I’m prepared to be corrected on this.
Regardless of the origin, these seafood balls were yet another example of the variety of Italy’s incredibly varied cuisine.
Ministry of Culinary Heritage
Perhaps Italy should set up a Ministry of Culinary Heritage and catalogue all of Italy’s regional specialities and recipes. This would be one heck of a task, as their are so many regional specialities that it would be difficult to know where to start.
To complicate matters even further, mini-regional wars would probably start as a result of Italian regions arguing as to where the first octopus balls etc. etc. were first cooked. Discussions on the origins of recipes would become as heated as the olive oil in which our balls were fried; of this, I certain. The wine people would whine too, unless they got very own minister. Then there is the grappa group, and there are the bitter boys. Acrimony guaranteed.
Assuming, on the food front, arguments could be settled without too much bloodshed, an official cook book of Italy (several volumes of cook books, may be needed!) could be produced, using award winning, but traditional versions of all of Italy’s recipes and foods. It would be a great way to market Italy too. And the Culinary Heritage Minister could go on an annual world tour showing off real Italian cookery around the world.
Heck, the minister would have a ball!
The very thought has my taste-buds a tingling. Yum, yum. Right, time for me to bounce off.