That’s a lot of babies. Yikes! Oh well…. It’s done now and it was deeeelish. No regrets. Random question… do you ever not get on the bus just because there’s too much people on it already? Clear sign that overpopulation isn’t good, and certainly not good for the baby octopi out there. The octopus. Super smart creature…. not smart enough. Good for us, imagine a society in which humans have been enslaved by octopi. pretty horrifying. Anyways, dinner was excellent and I’m ready to write about it and forget about these nightmarish thoughts. This dish was inspired by … I don’t even know… the need to cook something different. Seafood is one of my many food jams. I love it. Seafood is simple. Needs little to no cooking. The flavours are bold and the result tends to be elegant. The catch (no pun intended): finding fresh ingredients. With seafood and fish, the concept of fresh needs to be taken SERIOUSLY. The delicate nature of seafood and fish. They start to spoil the moment … well, the moment they die just like anything else, but at a really fast pace. That’s because, they did not only died, they have also been taken out of their natural environment….This whole spiel is turning a bit graphic, apologies, but that’s just how it is. That’s why I think it is important to cook animals the best way I can and with respect. There was drama before they met my skillet, I know this. Moment of silence. Done.
Ok. We’re back! Ready to go? ok! how do we cook this thing. It’s pretty easy. Pickling seafood is a no brainer. All is needed: acidic solution and seafood. I used vinegar today. I’ve used lime juice, lemon juice, and I’m pretty sure cranberry juice should work. Acid denatures proteins which is pretty much the same as what heat does. That’s amazing to me, even today. Pickling sea creatures and making ceviche is pretty much the same. The longer they stay in the pickling solution, the closer to fully getting pickled. There are several degrees of pickling. The longer they pickle for the more they will taste of the pickling liquid. Ceviche probably covers the entire range. From a quick flash curing period of 1 hour or less to a totally pickled state which takes about a couple of days. In this recipe today, I messed up. I over-pickled, not by choice but because there were other forces at work that prevented me from taking these little guys out of the vinegar in time. Important forces I gotta say. The recipe below accounts for that. So no worries, it’s gonna be ok, let’s get into it!
Ingredients (makes 6 appetizer servings):
1 lb fresh baby octopi.
1/2 Tbsp kosher salt.
1/2 Tbsp sugar.
1 Cup of good quality white wine vinegar.
The spinach coulis:
200g baby spinach
1/2 cup vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste.
Black lava salt to finish.
Some other garnishes: Roasted green onions and squid ink.
The octopi. Clean and rinse the octopus in cold running water. In a plastic container, add the vinegar and the salt. Stir until the salt dissolves. Add the octopi. Seal the container and refrigerate for 12 hours (overnight). Flash fry in a pot with vegetable oil at 400F for about 10 secs. Work in batches. Reserve.
The coulis. Add the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Reserve.
Plating. Pour the coulis first. Add a few octopi on top. Finish with black lava salt or any other finishing salt of your liking. Kosher salt, table salt, whatever you have really.