Olivier Reginensi, newly appointed executive chef at NYC’s flamboyantly exotic Le Cirque, is looking to use his talents to attract a new generation of diners with a casual dining series that will debut across the country. In addition, Reginensi is busy working in Le Cirque’s kitchen to create his own signature dishes to add to the menu.
- 2 pounds octopus
- 1/4 onion, chopped
- 1/4 carrot, chopped
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white wine
- water (to cover)
- 4 ounces yellow wax beans
- 4 ounces green beans
- 8 ounces marble potatoes
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
Grilled Octopus Salad
Octopus is an ingredient that it took us a while to warm up to, but during our travels in Italy, we’ve noticed that in the Mediterranean it’s almost as common as chicken. The best octopus we can get here arguably comes from Spain, so it does have to travel to get here. It’s also admittedly not very appetizing when you see it raw, and we could see why some people would be squeamish about it (Clayton used to be).
We recently received sample packs of baby Spanish octopus (c/o) from our friends at Water2Table fish company and they were nothing short of amazing. Octopus is probably the one instance where freezing a product makes it better to cook with later. The freezing and thawing helps naturally tenderize the meat.
The octopus we tried was caught in Spain (beware of octopus from other regions where fishing is not regulated), frozen for the transatlantic journey and arrived in Brooklyn at Octopus Garden, where they were tenderized in a special process done with salt slush. Then they were frozen again for the journey to California.
Many recipes suggest boiling octopus for a prolonged period of time to tenderize it, often with ingredients from Italian superstitions (pennies, corks). These octopus were so tender they just need to be boiled to cook through (12-15 minutes, this pot) and are ready to cool and use however you like. You do need to get the skin off, which is easy. Just rub the octopus with paper towels and rinse under cool water. We keep a box of these gloves for tasks like this.
To make our grilled octopus salad, we cut the head off of the cooked and cleaned octopus and separated the tentacles using this knife. Then we tossed the tentacles in a mixture of our favorite all purpose olive oil and a teaspoon of smoked paprika and let it sit until ready to grill and add to a simple salad. When we use crushed red peppers, we always reach for our chili cruncher. It save us from a lot of burning eyes since we don’t have to touch the peppers!
We served our grilled octopus salad with an amazing Trousseau Gris from Jolie-Laide. For more simple and healthy seafood recipes be sure to check out this salad, this simple pasta, and this one pot calamari.
Speaking of octopus, how cool is this octopus art? We first saw it in a house in Chicago and have wanted one for ourselves ever since!
Clayton’s Octopus Salad
Eating octopus can be a little daunting if you’ve never tried it before. Trust me, we’ve all been in your shoes the first time we tried octopus (unless you grew up eating it). I remember the first time that my husband, Clayton, an avid octopus lover, insisted I try it and being so nervous! All I could imagine is that bobbly, alien looking, tentacled creature in the ocean and I just couldn’t imagine liking the texture of such a thing. I was very wrong. Octopus is absolutely delightful when cooked properly and now that I love it, I nearly *always* order it when I see it on the menu which is why we decided to create Clayton’s Octopus Salad.
The first time we attempted to make octopus in our own kitchens, we were super intimidated. Coming home with a raw, cleaned octopus from the grocery store for the first time is one of those scary moments in the kitchen. Since I had never cooked it before, I went to one of my favorite websites, Serious Eats, to see if there was a good grilled octopus recipe. I came across this recipe, Clayton and I made it and loved it, and we’ve been an octopus cooking couple ever since.
You’ll find that our recipe really uses the technique that Serious Eats starts off using. We’ve just added our own touches over the years to turn it into this absolutely incredible Octopus Salad. And by “we” I mean Clayton and I. I usually do the first half of the recipe on the stovetop then hand it over to him. He is the one that came up with the fun twist to the recipe and turned it into this incredible salad.
So, if you are an octopus lover or wanting to try something new, I challenge you to try making Clayton’s Octopus Salad recipe! It’s absolutely delicious.
Spanish potato salad with grilled octopus
“Kiwifruit contains a natural enzyme that helps tenderise the octopus, so no cement mixers required here. With such simple ingredients, it’s important to use good quality Spanish sherry vinegar and olive oil because the warm potatoes will suck up all the flavours of the dressing.” Shane Delia, Shane Delia’s Moorish Spice Journey
- 1 kg baby octopus, cleaned, beaks removed
- 50 ml white vinegar
- 1 kiwifruit, peeled and pureed
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 garlic clove, sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 thyme sprigs
- pinch of smoked sweet paprika, to taste
Spanish potato salad
- 800 g mixed potatoes such as kipfler, desiree and purple, peeled and cut into similar sizes
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 250 ml (1 cup) olive oil
- 2 tbsp De Soto sherry vinegar
- 180 g (1 cup) Spanish green olives, pitted and roughly chopped
- 1 French shallot, peeled and finely chopped
- 4 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1 Seville orange, zested
- 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Marinating time 12 hours
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
To make the pickled octopus, place all the ingredients and 500 ml (2 cups) water in a large non-reactive bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12 hours. Drain the octopus and discard the liquid.
The following day, to make the potato salad, place the potato in a saucepan of lightly salted water and bring to the boil. Simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes or until tender when tested with a sharp knife. Drain, then break the potatoes in half and place on a tray. Drizzle all over with olive oil and toss gently to coat well. Drizzle with vinegar, then season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat a chargrill over high heat. When hot, grill the octopus for 2-3 minutes or until charred and just cooked through. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from the grill and cut into bite-size pieces. Combine the octopus with the potato, olives, shallot, spring onion, garlic and parsley, then transfer to a serving dish. Sprinkle with the orange zest and smoked paprika to finish.
Shane Delia's Moorish Spice Journey starts Thursday 15 October 2015 at 8pm on SBS and finishes 17 December 2015. Visit the Shane Delia's Moorish Spice Journey program page to catch-up on episodes online, scroll through recipes and read our interview with Shane.
- 2 pounds cleaned, trimmed octopus
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, or more to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Greek
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt (kosher or sea), or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 to 8 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Lemon wedges, for serving