I was in the shower Saturday by 804; this is now what I refer to as sleeping-in. Luckily, the French press helps, as did breakfast with Heston, with whom I slowly poured over a litany of potential recipes for this weekend. Not with much success mind you, the man is a molecular gastronomic genius, and the amount of skill and equipment required to complete his recipes, is only slightly exceeded by the amount of time required to surmount their daunting complexity. Sufficiently irritated with the lack of time I had to dedicate to such a maneuver, I headed to my brothers to drop off some peppers, and my compost. And while the pre-noon beer in his quickly expanding pumpkin patch, did help restore some sense of euphoria, it quickly dissipated on the mile long walk home. That was until I eyed Fish Tales, which I headed into with the sole purpose of cooling myself. The heat must have been messing with my brain, when have I ever walked into a fish market and left empty handed. Loaded with two and half pounds of octopus and 2 rainbow trout I headed home, screw that pretentious Briton, this week I’ll ride solo. Yet, once I arrived home a picture started to form, one filled with multi-colored heirloom tomatoes…the nearest of which were located at Union Market, a round trip just shy of two and a half miles, which needed to be covered on foot, in 100 degree weather. So a short while later, I found myself leaning against a freezer in the frozen foods section, nervously holding back overwhelming feelings of nauseous, coming to grips with the fact that it was 3pm and I had only had toast and coffee all day. Beginning to question my own sanity, I quickly pulled it together, I mean, what choice did I have, clearly, I needed those tomatoes. Beyond their amazing color, heirlooms have unparalleled flavor, and when lightly dressed and topped with grilled octopus, it made a light, satisfying, and summery meal, that could be a great change up for backyard BBQs.
2-3 pound whole frozen octopus
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Red Wine Vinegar
Octopus is a fairly tough product untreated, and needs to be thoroughly tenderized. Freezing and boiling the octopus both achieve this effect, and buying the octopus frozen helps to get the first step out of the way. The octopus should then be thawed and boiled for about an hour or longer, where it will shrink massively, (the tentacles below started out at roughly the length of my arm). It can then be cooled, cut, and placed in a bowl with enough oil, and vinegar to cover, at a ratio of about 2 to 1, and sprinkled with a generous amount of fresh thyme, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. After about an hour or longer in the marinade, the octopus can be moved to the grill, and placed on the salad once well browned.
6 assorted medium heirloom tomatoes
2-3 stalks of celery
1 medium red onion
10-12 basil leaves
Slice the tomatoes and alternately lay them across the plate, chopping the pieces that don’t lend well to slicing. Likewise slice the onions, celery, and basil thinly on an angle and with the chopped tomato toss together in a bowl with a light dressing of good quality olive oil, champagne vinegar (don’t substitute, white vinegar is too strong), salt, and pepper. Pile this down the center of the tomatoes and top with the grilled octopus.
The dish would be aptly complimented by a mildly acidic Pinot Blanc, Gavi, or a lightly hopped Pilsner.