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Grilled Octopus

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Friday, 22 April 2011

Nominated for a 2011 James Beard Cookbook Award in the Cooking from a Professional Point of View category. For a list of all the finalists check out our James Beard Finalists' Guide.  

Recipe from The Modern Café by Francisco J. Migoya (Wiley, 2009)

Yield: 20 portions


  • Giant lima beans 2 kg/4 lb 6.56 oz
  • Chicken stock 4 kg/8 lb 13.12 oz
  • Onions, coarsely chopped (about 2) 640 g/1 lb 6.56 oz
  • Garlic head, cut in half widthwise (about 1 head) 100 g/3.53 oz
  • Slab bacon, cut in quarters 400 g/14.11 oz
  • Carrot (about 1) 150 g/5.29 oz
  • Salt 150 g/5.29 oz


  • Baby octopus 2.5 kg/5 lb 8.16 oz
  • Water 2 kg/4 lb 6.4 oz
  • Salt 50 g/5.29 oz
  • Sugar 40 g/1.41 oz


  • Lime juice 200 g/7.05 oz
  • Garlic (about 2 cloves)    10 g/.35 oz
  • Canola oil 260 g/9.17 oz
  • Extra-virgin olive oil 140 g/4.94 oz
  • Salt 7 g/.25 oz
  • Freshly cracked black pepper 2 g/.07 oz
  • Dijon mustard 10 g/.35 oz
  • Celery leaves, coarsely chopped    120 g/4.32 oz
  • Red onion, thinly julienned (about 1) 320 g/11.29 oz
  • Parsley leaves, coarsely chopped 100 g/3.53 oz

Image1. FOR THE BEANS: Soak the lima beans (see Resources, page 540) in cold water overnight.

2. Strain the beans and combine with the chicken stock, onion, garlic, slab bacon, and carrot in a pot.

3. Bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Keep the pot covered and cook until the beans are tender, about 2 hours.

4. Once the beans are cooked, transfer them to a hotel pan, add the salt, and stir to dissolve. Adjust seasoning if needed. Place the hotel pan over an ice bath and refrigerate to cool down quickly. Once the beans have cooled, strain them from the cooking liquid and reserve them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Discard after 12 hours.

5. FOR THE OCTOPUS: Rinse the octopus in cold water.

6. Combine the water, salt, and sugar to create a brine, and stir to dissolve. Place the baby octopus in the brine for exactly 1 hour.

7. Remove the octopus from the brine and place them in a pot filled with simmering water. Gently simmer the octopus until tender, 55 minutes to 1 hour.

8. Remove the octopus from the simmering water and place them in a hotel pan in the refrigerator to stop the cooking process. Once they have cooled, keep them covered with a damp, clean kitchen towel or heavy-duty paper towel and reserve in the refrigerator. Discard after 12 hours.

9. FOR THE VINAIGRETTE: Place the lime juice and the garlic in a blender cup. Turn the blender on low speed, and then slowly increase the speed to high. Combine the canola and olive oil, and slowly pour it into the blender to create an emulsion. Add the salt, black pepper, and mustard. Adjust seasoning. Transfer to a squeeze bottle and reserve refrigerated. Discard after 3 days.

10. TO PICK UP: Grill 3 to 5 brined baby octopus, depending on the size, until slightly charred, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

11. In a small bowl, combine 180 g/6.35 oz of beans, 6 g/0.21 oz of celery leaves, 16 g/.56 oz of red onions, 5 g/.17 oz of parsley leaves, and 20 g/.7 oz of vinaigrette. Gently toss to combine.
Put on the desired plate in a mound.

12. Place the grilled octopus on the dressed beans, making sure to get some height. Serve immediately.


Last Updated ( Saturday, 23 April 2011 )
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