Cooking On The Couch: Octopus A La Plancha

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NEW YORK (WLNY) – Boulud Sud Executive Chef Aaron Chambers makes the restaurant’s famous grilled Octopus ‘a la Pancha.’

Octopus A La Plancha
Marcona Almonds, Arugula, Jerez Vinegar
Serves 10

Octopus
1 lb cleaned octopus with heads removed (about 1 1/2 lbs uncleaned)
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
2 stalks chopped celery
2 oranges, sliced
2 lemons, halved
Salt
½ cup olive oil
2 sprigs rosemary, picked
4 cloves garlic, crushed

Make a court bouillon: In a large sauce pot, combine onion, carrot, celery, and orange. Cover with 3 quarts of water, and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain, discard the solids, and season the broth with salt.
Cook the Octopus: Bring a large pot of salted water with the halved lemons to a boil. Add the octopus; boil for one minute, then strain. Wrap each octopus in cheesecloth and simmer lightly in the court bouillon for one hour and 15 minutes. Set pot aside and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Strain and chill the octopus. Cut the octopus into roughly 4-inch pieces. Transfer to a non-reactive container and toss with olive oil, rosemary and crushed garlic. Cover and store in refrigerator. Marinate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, heat plancha or grill to high heat. Season octopus with salt and pepper and sear on all sides.

Almond Puree
3 cups shaved almonds
3 cups milk
1 sachet (1 clove crushed garlic, 1 sprig rosemary, 1 sprig thyme wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with butcher’s twine)
2 Tbs almond oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

In a medium saucepot, combine almonds, milk, and sachet and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally until almonds are very tender (about 30 minutes). Discard the sachet and strain the almonds, reserving the liquid. Place almonds in a blender and puree, streaming in the reserved milk to reach a thick, smooth puree. Stream in the almond oil and season to taste with salt and ground white pepper.

Sherry Vinaigrette
2 Tbs minced shallot
3 Tbs Jerez vinegar
2 tsp fresh chopped oregano
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground white pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot and sherry vinegar. Stream in the olive oil, while whisking and add oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Garnish and Plating
3 oranges, cut in supremes
1 cup arugula
½ cup toasted marcona almonds

For each serving, place a spoonful of almond puree on the bottom of an appetizer bowl or plate. Top with a portion of seared octopus. Toss arugula and oranges in sherry vinaigrette to taste and arrange on top. Drizzle extra vinaigrette over top and around the octopus. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and serve immediately.