All good things must come to an end and so must this series of posts. I’ll be moving on to some more simple aka faster weeknight dinner recipes to get us all ready for fall in upcoming posts but first, the final “long table” recipe is ready for you.
There were a few other courses that we all enjoyed but I did not snap enough pics to feature them in a post so I will try harder next time. I have made a super cool acquisition that will help me document the ingredients, prep process and cooking action in the future (even when the wine is flowing)! GoPro is enroute and I can’t wait!
Anyway, enough about me; let’s get to this dish already!
The last time we were in Mexico, I noticed grilled octopus almost everywhere. Both upscale restaurants and street vendors were grilling up this absolutely sumptuous, sticky dish and doing an amazing job of it. Of course I couldn’t get enough and knew I had to try my hand with this at home.
What to pair it with though..? This question burned in the back of mind for a couple of weeks. I knew it had to be sweet to stand up to the smokiness of the grill and heat of the ancho chili. Enter Cafe 21 in San Diego. If you’re ever San Diego, then you have to eat at this place. The first time we ate there, we noticed that almost all brunch plates were being served with this dope looking green sauce. I thought it might have been a tomatillo or verde but I was wrong. The server told us it was their house made kiwi sauce, so obviously we had to try this concoction and instantly realized why they put it on so many damn dishes. I therefore have to fess up that, although I did not copy their sauce, mine was most definitely inspired by Cafe 21’s.
Grilled octopus with ancho chili oil on kiwi citrus puree with minced shallots (have you noticed that I love shallots).
Here we go…
Prep time: 1 hour
Cook time: 30 minutes
Special gear required: A grill, a strainer, food processor or blender, a plastic squeeze bottle is always nice in the kitchen and love
- Ocotopus tentacles ( from 1 octopus)
2 Ancho chilis
- 1 Head garlic
- 2 TBSP honey
- 1 TBSP paprika
- 1 Orange
- 2 Ripe kiwis
- 2 Mint leaves
- 1 Lime
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Bottle Dry Rose
- 1 Sweet Onion
- 1 Shallot
- 1/3 Cup olive oil
Stage 1: Complete at least 4 hours before you plan to grill
- Let’s get this octopus braising in the oven for an hour shall we? Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Roughly chop the chilis, garlic and sweet onion and put these beauties into a baking dish. Cut the lemon and orange into quarters and squeeze into the baking dish.
- Drizzle some of your silky olive oil into the dish and pour half of your wine into the dish. Don’t forget to enjoy the other half of that wine bottle in a glass!
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper and the paprika.
- You should be able to find just the tentacles at your seafood market but if you can’t, then go ahead and throw the whole sea monster in the dish. Just make sure it’s been cleaned and de-beaked.
- Mix everything around so the ingredients all get a chance to know each other and put in the oven to braise for an hour or until the octopus is soft and sticky.
- Remove from heat, steal the chilis and add to the olive oil and cover in a container with a lid to create your killer chili oil. You can use this later for so many other things including salad dressings.
- Let the octopus cool for about 10 minutes. Remove as much skin from the octopus as you have patience for as this will make the texture much more supple before covering and putting the dish in the fridge.
Stage 2: Sauce time
- Zest the limes and set the zest aside.
- Cut the kiwis in half and spoon the flesh out. Add the kiwis, honey, mint leaves and freshly squeezed lime juice into the food processor and buzz until fully pureed. Taste for sweetness and add white sugar to taste; buzz again.
- Strain the puree to get all the solids and seeds out.
- Pour into the plastic squeeze bottle and store in the fridge until go time.
- Peel and finely mince the shallot. The smaller the better because this garnish is just meant to cut through the flavours of the dish as a cleanser not overpower what you’ve built. Big chunks=bad
Stage 3: Grilling and plating time
- Heat the grill and clean the racks. Once you’re up to about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, place the octopus on the grill and brush with the chili oil.
- Grill for about 90 seconds per side making sure you coat all the meat with the tasty chili oil and then remove from grill.
- Use a small side plate and squeeze three 1 inch size dollops of the kiwi sauce in any arrangement that you feel best suits your plates. Leave some space between the dollops. You can use a knife end to drag through the kiwi sauce to fancy it up if you like.
- Chop the octopus tentacles into 1 inch long pieces and place a piece over top each of the kiwi dollops. Spoon a small amount of minced shallots in the middle of the plate and sprinkle with your lime zest! You’re ready to serve and wow now.
We enjoyed this course with a glass of chilled pinot noir which paired beautifully with the sweet tangy-ness and heat of this dish but you could also serve with the dry rose if you have any left over.
I hope you enjoy this tasty recipe and keep and eye out for the next post coming soon! Happy eating and entertaining.
Petey Pabs out…