When you look at this picture of Delta del Ebro oysters do you automatically think ‘Yum’ or ‘Yucky’?
One of our favourite dishes at the moment is a beetroot borani we were taught to make by chef Tom Ryalls during a Moro cooking week in Las Alpujarras.
This is it without its clothes on so to speak, normally it comes dressed with chopped walnuts and feta cheese. It is ‘exclaim out loud’ delicious… even without the trimmings.
But a friend of ours that we made it for recently wasn’t convinced. The colour was just too out there.
I’ve been on trips where quite a lot of dishes are avoided by some people for one reason or another. More often than not that isn’t because of the way they taste; seafood especially is often the victim of culinary prejudice.
Admittedly, examples like the razor fish above or these sea urchins aren’t the prettiest looking of dishes. That shouldn’t matter.
But it does.
Our mate who wasn’t seduced by the beetroot borani was equally unenamoured when we suggested he tried a favourite tapas dish of ours, octopus with mash potatoes. The idea of eating something with tentacles really didn’t ring his bell. However, he had never tried it so how could he possibly know he wouldn’t like it?
To be fair to him, he agreed to give it a go but as he spooned a portion on to his plate his face screwed up slightly at the sight of a purple tentacle peeking out at him.
“What colour is octopus supposed to be when it’s in the sea?” He asked.
“That’s not important,” countered Andy, knowing exactly that this line of discussion would end with the octopus being left uneaten. “And stop thinking about what it looks like.”
Therein lies one of the secrets to enjoying all manner of odd looking critters.
When you get served something ‘unusual’ in a restaurant don’t taste it with your eyes, taste it with the things that were designed for the job; your taste-buds.
Our friend said he enjoyed his first taste of octopus even though he couldn’t actually bring himself to eat a rogue sucker that popped off one of the tentacles onto his plate. It was clearly too octopussy looking.
But it was a gastronomic leap forward. Next time we’ll try him on these fellas.
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites as well as a contributor to lots of other places. Follow Jack on Google+