ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Braised Octopus with Pasta and Tomato Sauce
• Kosher salt
• 3/4 cup (100g) ditalini pasta
• 2 tentacles from Pickled White Octopus in a Jar (page 52 / below), sliced crosswire 1/2 inch (1cm) thick
• 2 cups (500 ml) Greek Tomato Sauce (page 220 / below)
• 2 rosemary sprigs
• Freshly ground white pepper
• Pinch of crushed red pepper
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons ouzo
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• Micro herbs, for garnish, optional
1) In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain in a colander.
2) In the same saucepan, combine the pasta with the octopus, Greek Tomato Sauce, and rosemary. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat to heat through, about 1 minute. Season with salt, white pepper, and crushed red pepper. Discard the rosemary. Spoon into a serving bowl or bowls and drizzle with the lemon juice, ouzo, and oil. Sprinkle with herbs, if desired, serve.
Pickled White Octopus in a Jar
• 3 tablespoons white peppercorns
• One 6 to 8 pound tenderized octopus
• 2 cups dry white wine
• 5 cups aged white wine vinegar
• 12 large thyme sprigs
• 6 bay leaves
• 6 cups water
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 medium Vidalia onion, cut into julienne strips
• 1 pound red radishes, sliced 1/8 inch thick on a mandolin
• 8 ounces white mushrooms, halved or quartered, depending on size
• Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1) Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small dry skillet, toast the peppercorns over medium heat, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool.
2) In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, arrange the octopus, stretching the tentacles away from the heat. Add the wine, 1 cup of the vinegar,1 tablespoon of the toasted peppercorns, 6 thyme sprigs and 3 bay leaves. Cover the casserole, transfer to the oven, and cook the octopus until a cake tester slides easily into the thickest part of a tentacle, 45 minutes to 2 hours.
3) Remove the casserole from the oven. Transfer the octopus to a large baking pan and let cool. Slice off the head and discard. Cut off the tentacles, being careful not to cut into the beak. Trim the rubbery flaps on the tentacles and discard; leave the suckers intact. Arrange the tentacles in a 4 quart jar. Discard the braising liquid.
4) Tie the remaining 6 thyme sprigs, 3 bay leaves and 2 tablespoons of toasted peppercorns in a cheesecloth bundle.
5) In a large saucepan, bring the water, the remaining 4 cups of vinegar, the sugar and herb bundle to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and discard the herb bundle. Add the onion, radishes, and mushrooms and let cool. Ladle the vegetables and brine into the jar. Seal and refrigerate. Slice the tentacles 1/4 inch thick and serve with the vegetables and a drizzle of brine and oil.
Greek Tomato Sauce
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
• 4 garlic cloves, chopped
• 2 pounds plum tomatoes, chopped
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper
1) In a large saucepan, heat the canola oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and bay leaf and bring to a simmer, then cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, 20 to 30 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
2) Pass the sauce through a food mill into a medium bowl. Stir in the olive oil and oregano. Season with salt and pepper. Scrape the tomato sauce into a jar with a lid and seal. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.