Poached Octopus with Yukon Gold Potatoes, Dry Cured Olives, Haricots Vert, Arugula-Parsley Salad, and Preserved Lemon-Charmoula Vinaigrette.
One 4-6 # octopus
2 oz red wine
2 oz red wine vinegar
3 Yukon Golds, peeled, diced and blanched. See below
¼ cup, pitted and chopped dry cured olives
8 oz haricots vert, blanched, drained and cooled
2 cups arugula
¼ cup picked parsley leaves
2 pieces preserved lemons diced (Recipe follows)
Juice from two lemons
4 garlic cloves, minced
2t ground cumin
1 t paprika
¼ t red chili flake, or more according to your constitution
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 T sherry vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot that will comfortable accommodate the octopus, bring enough water to cover the mollusk to a boil and add the vinegar and red wine as well as a real cork. Boil for 10 minutes, and then turn off heat and let octopus sit in the poaching water for half an hour until tender. Remove octopus, drain and slice the tentacles into ½ inch rounds. While the octopus is cooking, prepare the potatoes and haricots vert. Start the diced potatoes in cold salted water and boil till fork pierces easily, shock in cold water, drain and reserve. If you skim the potatoes out of the water, you can add the haricots vert to the same water saving time. Lay the potatoes out on a tray to cool. Drain and shock the green beans in cold water to prevent them from over cooking. Mix the octopus, olives and potatoes together with the preserved lemons, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, chili flake, extra virgin, and sherry vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on plate with haricot vert and arugula-parsley salad, tossing the greens with extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.
It takes a month to make the preserved lemons. If they are not available, just use the lemon juice, but here is the simple recipe to make them, then all you need is time. They are particularly complimentary to fish, chicken or pork. You can amp up the seasonings by adding fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and or pink peppercorns, although what follows works quite nicely.
1 Plastic Gallon container
Extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
Cinnamon Sticks 5
Black Peppercorns 15
Bay Leaves 5
Star Anise 10 pieces
Salt 1 ¼ cups
Slice lemons into 8ths. Sprinkle container w/salt, layer lemons, pack in and punch down. Put spices between layers, sprinkle every layer with salt, drizzle with olive oil. Press down to express lemon juice. Cover. Place on back table. Flip container every 8 hours for 2 days, then put in refrigerator. They will last for years.