Composition: Charred octopus scented with smoked paprika, red cabbage compressed with plum vinegar, pineapple jam, chorizo, and chilled octopus consomme.
Chef: Phillip Foss
When: February - March, 2017
As I write this, there are hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in stagnant inventory lying in a state of uselessness in the kitchen below me. Discovering a home for ingredients that have been stranded on a shelf in the refrigerator is not only obviously useful from a financial perspective, but also it is an important and necessary challenge on a creative level. This course was a good example of being resourceful with dormant product, and it also became a favorite with our guests.
The course began with two preserves that had been in the refrigerator for some time. Namely, the preserved red cabbage and pineapple jam. When I began to consider how the two ingredients could work together on a course, I immediately thought of Hawaii where I had lived for a couple of years. This got me to think of the Portuguese influence on their cuisine, which brought me to the smoked paprika and then the chorizo. Octopus is paired up all the time with chorizo, and since the reason for that is because it is fucking delicious, I jumped on that bandwagon and rode it home.
The only semi-complicated procedure is the octopus and consomme. We used large octopus for the dish and removed the tentacles from the beaks (the beaks became family meal). The tentacles were seasoned with smoked paprika, compressed, and cooked sous vide at 72 degrees Celsius for 4 hours.
Once done, it is immediately strained, and the resulting liquid is gelled at a ratio of one leaf of bloomed gelatin which is dissolved in one liter of liquid. That is then frozen overnight, removed the following morning, and allowed to drip slowly through cheesecloth fitted over a conical sieve with a container underneath. Though it is a pretty time consuming process, the resulting purple color and deep flavor make it well worth the wait.
With the octopus itself, it is cleaned under cold running water, charred on the grill on pick up, sliced into bite sized portions, tossed with a smoked paprika oil. Another pretty cool aspect to the dish, is that when the purple consomme would come into contact with even a little of the vinegar from the cabbage, it would turn a more neon form of purple. And anyone who knows me knows how much I love purple.
Photo: Lorenzo Tassone, Tassone Photography