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Charred Octopus with Jicama Salad and Smoky Jalapeño Paste

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Ingredients

1 2-4 pound octopus

¼ cup dry white wine

2 quarts of water

½ cup olive oil

Peel of ½ orange

4 garlic cloves, smashed

1 tablespoon Kosher salt

½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon Hatch chile powder

1 teaspoon Pasilla chile powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon Arbol chile powder

2 sprigs of thyme

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole coriander

For the Jalapeño Paste

3 dried chipotles, stem removed

1 roma tomato, charred

½ white onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

½ cup water

5 tablespoons olive oil

3 teaspoons Kosher salt

For the Jicama Salad

1 small jicama

1 chayote

1 lime

Pinch of Hatch chile powder

Directions

For the Octopus

  1. Soak octopus in ice water and mix with about 1/8 cup of kosher salt for about 30 minutes to remove any impurities.
  2. Once soaked, drain and set aside.
  3. In a sauté pan, toast the peppercorns, bay leaves, and coriander on medium heat approximately 1-1½ minutes, just until you start to get the aroma, then set aside.
  4. Next, in a medium pot, warm 1 tablespoon of the olive oil on medium heat.
  5. Add the garlic and sweat for approximately 1 minute, then remove the pan from heat, and add the wine.
  6. Add the octopus, water, orange rind, rest of olive oil, chile powders, dry oregano, toasted spices, and sprigs of thyme, cover the pot and return to low heat,
  7. Let the octopus cook until tender (Note: The time will vary based on the octopus itself. Check it after 1 1/2 hours, and the best way to check it is by using a cake tester).
  8. Discard the cooking liquid and chill octopus in the refrigerators until fully cooled.
  9. Once cooled, remove the head, the beak, and separate the 8 tentacles.
  10. To clean each tentacle, take a clean dish towel and remove the bottom part by just scraping with a knife. Keep all of the suckers intact; it’s the best part.
  11. Once cleaned, set aside.

For the Jalapeño Paste

  1. Toast the dry chipotle in 3 tablespoons olive oil, then add onion and garlic and sweat on medium heat for approximately 2 minutes or until translucent.
  2. Add charred tomato and water, cook on low heat, covered, for 20 minutes until chipotle peppers are soft.
  3. Purée the mixture until smooth, then return the paste to a hot pan with an additional 2 tablespoons of olive oil and “toast” the sauce.
  4. Bring the heat down immediately to low, add the sale, and cook sauce for approximately 5 minutes.
  5. Set aside to chill.

For the Jicama Salad

  1. Peel jicama and chayote, then rinse.
  2. Julienne fruit, then set aside.

To Assemble

  1. Heat up the grill and once hot, drizzle the cleaned octopus tentacles with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Char on the grill approximately 4-5 minutes, turning the tentacles constantly to avoid burning.
  3. Once charred, reserve in a warm place.
  4. On a large plate, “paint” a little chipotle paste on with a pastry brush or the back of a spoon.
  5. Toss the jicama and chayote with the lime juice, New Mexico chile powder, and salt to taste.
  6. Set the jicama salad in the center of the paste and place the charred octopus on top of the salad in a nice manner.

 

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