Often overlooked for sexier (read: well-known) seafood like lobster or crab, octopus, when prepared properly, is buttery, and happily takes on bold flavours. It loves a grill and can take the heat of charcoal barbecue. A protein rich option that provides vitamin B12, selenium, iron, copper, and vitamin B6, when bought pre-cooked, it can be easily spiffed up in minutes.
1/ THE SEADOG
Change up the traditional hot dog for a seafood-based version served with a rich lemon sriracha mayonnaise.
Combine ½ cup mayonnaise, zest of one lemon, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tbsp. sriracha and set aside. Toast and butter 4 hotdog buns. Meanwhile, season each of 4 pre-cooked octopus tentacles with salt, pepper to taste and ½ teaspoon of Cajun seasoning mix. Grill for 1 minute or until slightly blackened. Place 1 leaf of lettuce and 3 slices tomato on each bun. Top with quick grilled octopus tentacle. Drizzle 1 -2 tbsp. of sriracha mayonnaise on octopus and serve with chips. Repeat with remaining buns. Serves 4.
2/ GRILLED OCTOPUS WITH SQUID INK AIOLI
Soft, smoky tentacles with an unctuous dipping sauce will be a socially distanced crowd-pleaser.
For the squid ink aioli, combine 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp. squid ink, 2 cloves grated garlic, juice and zest from ½ lemon in a food processor. Slowly drizzle in ½ cup canola oil, a drop at a time in a seamless pour, until the mixture thickens. Season with salt. For the grilled octopus, prepare a quick marinade with ¼ cup canola oil, 3 sprigs of rosemary, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. dried chili flakes. With a pastry brush, paint oil marinade on the tentacles, and place on a preheated grill pan for 2-3 minutes or until grill marks appear. Serve with grilled baby tomatoes, and black olives. Serves 4.
3/ SPANISH ROMANESCO SAUCE
This bold sauce, full of smokiness, sweetness and a touch of sharpness is balanced perfectly with toasted almonds and bread.
Toast ½ cup almonds and ¼ cup bread. Set aside. Place 4 tomatoes on the vine, 2 garlic cloves, ½ onion, 2 sweet peppers on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with smoked paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Roast for 20 minutes, until soft. Cool. Add all ingredients to a blender with 1 tsp. of sherry vinegar until smooth. As an accompaniment, quickly sautée ½ sliced onion, 7 halved grape tomatoes, ½ red pepper, sliced, 5 chopped olives, and a sprig of parsley in a pan over high heat, season to taste. Serve alongside char grilled octopus with Romanesco sauce as a condiment. Serves 4.
THE INGREDIENT TOOLKIT
Did you know? Freezing, then thawing octopus tenderizes the flesh, making it super soft to eat. Lightly grilling the tentacles on an outdoor grill or cast-iron grill pan imparts smokiness that, when paired with a citrus based dressing, is out of this world delicious. CSL loves Toppits Wild Caught Cooked Octopus, a sustainable choice, without preservatives or additives. 340g;
The Vegetable Accompaniments
Nothing brings sunshine to the plate like juicy, sweet peppers and tomatoes. Get them year-round with Big Marble Farms plump five-pack of tomatoes on the vine (TOV’s for the cool kids), medley tomatoes, grape tomatoes and trio of firm yellow, orange and red sweet peppers packed with beta carotene, antioxidants and vitamin C.
This original food article first appeared in the Spring 2021 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.