Hello all, as promised this next post will feature the second course from our backyard long table dinner experiment. The inspiration behind this meal was a seafood boil so this course is also seafood inspired! The sun was shinning and the wine was flowing so I was pretty sure I couldn’t mess this up. I succeeded and I’m sure you will too.
What is the next course you ask? Get ready because it is just as much of a mouthful to say as it is to eat. Chili de Arbol braised octopus carpaccio served with dry rub alder smoked pork belly on a citrus arugula salad dressed with graprefruit mimosa vinaigrette. There… I said it.
There is a lot of steps to this one so stay with me but the best part is… you don’t have to make the entire combination if you don’t feel up to it. Each component can stand on it’s own with a little garnish, so read through and maybe you’ll get a few tips on something you will love to create, share and of course EAT!
Right now you might be thinking, where in the world do I get my hands on octopus? It’s definitely not a staple on most grocery lists. Do a little Googling and you will find the perfect spot in your area. I’ve been going to Seafood City on Granville Island for many years now when I need something special or just plain delicious from the ocean. So special thanks to Brian for providing this delicious sea monster from the deep! Brian and all the other awesome people there are always happy to help when it comes to cleaning and chopping things and providing great ingredients and service!
Get ready to wrap your tentacles around this one…
Prep time: 2 hours split over two days
Cook time: 3 hours
Special gear required: A grill, a sharp potato peeler, plastic wrap, a winning attitude!
- 1 Lb pork belly
- 1 Octopus, cleaned, de-beaked
- 2 Chilis de Arbol
- 1 TBSP smoked paprika
- 1 TBSP brown sugar
- 1 TBSP chili powder
- 1 TSP garlic powder
- 1 Orange
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Grapefruit
- 2 Satsumas
- 1 Sweet onion
- 1 Box of washed arugula
- 1 Ltr chicken stock
- Avocado oil
- 1/3 Cup champagne vinegar
- 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
- Black Pepper
- Alder wood chips
I’ll spread this out into stages to make it a little easier to digest.
Stage 1: There are a couple of things you need to do the day before to make this happen.
- Create your awesome dry rub by combining the chili, garlic and smoked paprika powders with the brown sugar and a pinch or two of salt. Now rub this magic pixie dust all over the pork belly and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in your fridge overnight.
- Its octopus time! I buy mine already cleaned so I can save a lot of time and mess in the kitchen. I’m sure the fish monger in your area will be as helpful if you find the right place. Chop the onion and add a little oil to a pot and briefly brown the onions before adding the chicken stock. Chop an orange and a lemon into cubes (don’t remove the rinds) and throw those in the pot along with the chilis. Remember, the amount of chili seeds you allow with determine the heat level of your dish.
- Once the mixture starts to simmer, add the octopus along with, a pinch of salt and pepper and make sure the octopus is partially covered by your braising liquid. Cover with and lid and simmer on medium heat for 60 minutes (flip octopus half way through) or until the octopus is soft and tacky.
- Once the braising is complete, remove the pot from the heat and let the octopus cool in the liquid. Once cooled you can easily scrape the skin off the octopus( the purple stuff). It’s not necessary to get it all but it will make your dish more supple.
- Now you will need to bring your rolling skillz A-game to the table. Double layer plastic wrap on your counter about 18 inches long. Place the octopus on the wrap and roll into a sausage shape as tight as you can, making sure there are no gaps or air pockets in your roll. Twist the ends tightly, which will help with making a firmer roll, and fold them under when done and place on a plate in the fridge. Leave this roll in the fridge until ready to serve the next day. The octopus will set nicely and develop a soft and sticky texture.
Stage 2: It’s now the next day and time to get smoking!!
- Soak the alder wood chips in warm water for about 30 minutes. Turn half of your grill burners on and close the lid to preheat. Place the chips in foil and make a pouch. Use a fork or similar tool to poke a bunch of holes along the sides and the top so the smoke has a place to escape and make the pork all tasty and stuff. Use a pair of tongs to lift the grill plates off and place the wood chip pouch on the burners and replace the grill plates. Score the pork belly to increase the surface area for smoking. Put your pork belly on a baking sheet on the opposite side of the grill and close the grill lid. Optimal temp here will be between 250-300 Fahrenheit for about 2 hours.
- Time to infuse the avo oil with grapefruit rind. Peel the fruit with a potato peeler and place the rinds into 1/2 cup of avo oil and bring to a very mild simmer. Be careful not to get the oil too hot. You don’t want to fry the rinds. Keep on low heat so that the rinds barely bubble for about 15 minutes and the rinds will release their citrus flavour into the oil. Strain. By the way, this works great with fresh herbs, garlic, chilis and so many other tasty ingredients so feel free to experiment in the future.
- Once the infused grapefruit oil has cooled, place in a bowl and whisk in the champagne vinegar to create an emulsion (it thickens and turns silky). Continue whisking and add the dijon and some pepper and a pinch of brown sugar and black pepper. This is your grapefruit mimosa vinaigrette! Cover and place in the fridge.
- Remove the white fibre from the grapefruit you peeled leaving only the flesh and cut the sections in half with a sharp knife. Peel the satsumas and do the same. Place the chopped sections in some Tupperware and set aside in the fridge
Stage 3: The home stretch so get ready for plating!
- After your belly has finished smoking, it’s time to let it rest. Turn the grill off and cover with foil. Unwrap your octopus roll and, with a very sharp knife, slice as thinly as possible. Grab the washed arugula and add the citrus sections into a bowl and toss with the vinaigrette. Lay the carpaccio slices on the side of the plate overlapping each other and put a little pile of arugula salad next to the space beside the carpaccio. Tell you guests it’s time for the next course and then slice the pork belly into 1 inch wide sections and place carefully over the salad and serve!
- This dish pairs beautifully with a light and bright red wine. Think Pinot Noir or Grenache. We went with Greanche and it worked perfectly. It’s summer so don’t be afraid to serve the red chilled.
I hope you enjoy building and sharing this dish as much as I did and your peeps will definitely appreciate this treat! It’s worth the time in my books. As always, I love to hear what you thought so do share in the comments! Keep and eye out for the next course coming soon.
Petey Pabs out…