Octopus im Seewind – Do: Excursions, fitness and travel

Next to Luis Sendra’s house there is a 40-square-meter concrete plaza with a couple of very tense clotheslines. They are freshly stocked in the morning: squid, large octopus, which are left to dry there in the sun and the salty sea breeze for two or three days, just enough to keep them well without drying out. Sendra is in the process of passing on the house, the business and the passion for octopus to the next generation, he is already 70 years old, almost 50 years ago he opened the restaurant in his grandfather’s house with his brother Miguel – and it has dried up for always since it is pulped with the wind in the open space next to the side entrance.

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“You never know how many squid you’re going to get, and you can’t promise anyone beforehand.”

juan garcia fisher

Spain

get there

Denia located between the two airports of Valencia and alicante. tickets, eg. b with Ryanair (www.ryanair.com), eurowings (www.eurowings.com) or Lufthansa (www.lufthansa.com). who with him car arrives: Recently, the Spanish coastal highway from the border until after Denia gratuitous

accommodation

The La Posada del Mar hotel is considered the best house in the square and is located directly in the old port district of Denia in a historic mansion. Double room from 168 euros with breakfast, www.laposadadelmar.com.

Next door is the Hotel El Raset, more modern and a little more basic, which is joined by the exclusive restaurant belongs to the same name. DR/F from 100 euros, www.hotelelraset.com.

eat and drink

That restaurant of Luis Sendra in the district the broken ones I call Sendra (no website) by Jose Manuel Lopez is Peix i Brases (www.peixibrases.com; one Michelin star).

General information

Spanish Tourist Office, www.spain.info; www.denia.es; www.comunitatvalenciana.com. HSO

It has long since become something like the octopus king of Dénia here on the Costa Blanca. His clotheslines have become a popular photo spot from narrow Calle Fènix a few steps up, his restaurant attracts fans of calamari and seafood while remaining rustic and down-to-earth from start to finish. finish. His daughter Lorena waits tables, his son José cooks and his nephew José Luis is now a specialist in crafts

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. Cut off the heads of squid in the open air, rub the body, arms, clean the suckers with running sea water, which comes out of the garden hose and is pumped from 15 meters away. The squid they caught themselves in sight of the house, it was never scarce. This is no longer allowed, the region is now a marine reserve and taboo for fishermen.

Rare turtles make their home there, and the occasional passing dolphin can be seen leaping from afar.

Luis Sendras Pulpo now comes from the Dénia fish market, from there he also gets sea urchins, prawns and fresh fish three times a week and bids on the market in the afternoon. What is sold over the counter comes from outside, and not from the protected area. And there is not always enough octopus. That is why he now orders from the wholesaler, sourcing the animals from Galicia in northern Spain, from Morocco and sometimes from Algeria. Nothing changes in terms of taste and preparation. “Not even the olive oil and pepper mix,” he says, “that we apply with a brush when we hang them up to dry to keep the bugs away.” Successfully.

Six Dénia boats are still designed for octopus fishing, sinking plastic pots to a depth of 40 meters on the seabed. Two or three days later they are brought back on board: with octopuses, who consider the pots to be caves and have moved into them. “Some days we return to port with five squid, others are 100,” says Antonio Seperre, who has been with us for 30 years. “That’s how it is in this trade,” confirms Juan García, a fisherman in Dénia for more than 50 years. “You never know how many squids you’re going to get, and you can’t promise anyone anything in advance. What Seperre knows very well: that on every trip back home to Dénia they will splash ink on him: “It will come out with water.”

The chef has octopuses tattooed on his arm.

Dénia-style dried octopus is a local specialty and only appears as an exotic surprise on a menu 50 kilometers further north or south. “It is important to me that the inside of the arms remain white and not too firm, after drying and also after firing,” says Sendra. Using tongs, she holds the dry, unseasoned octopus arm directly over the flame of the gas stove. “It has to get hot, cook all the way through, but stay juicy while browning on the outside. Depending on the thickness or the flame, this happens in two or three minutes.”

The arm is then cut diagonally into coin-thin slices, drizzled with a few drops of lemon and a little olive oil, and served. Especially as a starter, without sauce, almost always with light bread. It tastes a little smoky, sometimes sooty, without it bothering you. It tastes of salt, of the sea, of fish and something sour, fresh from the lemon, juicy from the oil.

At José Manuel López at the Peix i Brases restaurant in Dénia, the octopus ends up on the grill, rotated and turned over and over again and is ready when individual clear drops of medium fiber drip onto the coals. Lopez loves the octopus and has many octopuses tattooed on his arm.

Hardly any Mediterranean restaurant can do without the octopus, there is even a grocery store in the port, where almost everything revolves around this animal and there are also octopus croquettes on the menu. There is a stall in the Dénia food market where octopus arms preserved in salt are sold. To the locals. And to vacationers who want to try it at home. Can Sendra still see it, still eat it? “Of course, I’d love to,” she says and quickly nibbles on a slice in the kitchen.

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