I got a big craving for octopus after seeing the beautiful octopus salad We Are Never Full made recently, and after sampling some delicious versions at Pylos and Esca i couldn’t wait to get my tentacles on their hands. Yesterday, i found some nice small octopus at the fish market and we had that ‘instant connection’. I looked at her and she looked at me… time stood still.. we walked out together. The rest of the story is in the plate below. I won’t tell you how i tenderized my beloved octopus but We Are Never Full has some great tips here.
The octopus was boiled in a light court-bouillon, cooled, cut in chunks and grilled quickly on an improvised ‘grill’. It was a tender tentacle miracle…
For the salad i went for chickpeas, wild arugula, braised sweet pearl onions finished with a touch of agave syrup and roasted piquillo peppers with a few strips of preserved lemons, and a lemon vinaigrette to go with that. I had some parsley oil that needed loving too so i invited her to join the party and it provided a grassy bite that brought the whole thing together nicely. Do i really need to write a recipe? Can i.. just this one time?.. No?… Fine!!
Grilled Octopus Salad with Chickpeas, Wild Arugula and Preserved Lemon
- (serves 2-4)
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbs black peppercorns
- 1/2 lemon, cut up
- 3 parsley stems
- 2 tbs salt
- 1 small to medium-sized octopus, cooked in court-bouillon
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 4 cups wild arugula, cleaned
- 1 cup pearl onions, peeled
- 1 tbs butter
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1 tbs agave syrup
- 1 piquillo pepper, roasted, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 preserved lemon, skin only, sliced
- 4 tablespoons parsley oil (blend 1/2 cup olive oil with 1/4 cup parsley leaves)
- 1/2 cup lemon vinaigrette (1/2 clove garlic, salt, 2 tbs lemon juice, 6 tbs olive oil)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients for court bouillon in a pot and bring to a boil. Add octopus, reduce to simmer and cook for 15 minutes (depends on size). Remove octopus, pat dry and let it cool. Toss in olive oil and lemon juice.
Meanwhile, melt some butter in a small pan and add the pearl onions. Season with salt and pepper and sautee until they start to color. Add chicken stock and cover, cook until tender and liquid has evaporated. Remove cover and add the agave syrup and glaze the onions until golden brown. Set aside.
Place the chickpeas, arugula, piquillo peppers in a bowl and dress with the lemon vinaigrette. Arrange on a platter. Garnish with the sweet onions and drizzle some parsley oil. Grind some fresh black pepper over the salad.
Okay.. this is not recommended at home unless your crazy, then your excused. Set your speed dial to 911 and grill the octopus chunks (preferably over charcoals, otherwise improvise). Don’t overdo-it or they will turn tough. Arrange the octopus chunks over the salad with thin slices of preserved lemon. Enjoy!