Grilled Octopus with Leeks, Thyme & Shallots

I recently dined at a “to-die-for” Greek restaurant in NYC called, Ethos Gallery. One of my favorite seafood dishes was the “Octapodi Sharas” (grilled octopus) on their small plates menu. Wow! My mouth was full of sheer joy! I think our entire dinner party is still dreaming of grilled octopus! It was tender and juicy and incredibly flavorful, which inspired me to make my own version that I could share with you all. Don’t worry, it seems complex but it’s really not!  Where the heck do you buy octopus?  I buy mine at Whole Foods, but you can often find octopus at your local seafood market or at select Asian markets. This dish makes an awesome appetizer, but is filling enough for a main. Serve it with a side of Roasted Baby Potatoes with Leeks. Kalí óreksi! – which is Greek for “bon appetit!”

OctopusInPot_600x400Simmer whole octopus in a large pot for one hour until fork tender.

OctopusOnIce_600x400Dunk octopus into an ice bath to cool and maintain its color.

OctopusOnGrill_600x400Grill octopus until nicely charred on both sides. I used my stove-top grill pan!

Grilled Octopus with Leeks, Thyme & Shallots
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 25 whole peppercorns (green or black)
  • 1 large lemon, cut in half
  • 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 head garlic, cut in half length wise
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 bay leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 2 pounds fresh, cleaned whole octopus (head removed)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped (white part only)
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 large lemon for squeezing
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a large pot of salted water, add peppercorns, lemon (squeezed), thyme, garlic, white wine, and bay leaves. Bring water to a boil. Slowly drop in whole octopus, tentacles first to avoid too much curling. Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour. Poke tentacles with a fork to check tenderness (should be very tender). When done, drain into colander and put octopus only into a large glass bowl of ice water to cool. Drain again when octopus has cooled. On a cutting board, cut tentacles into off of into individual whole pieces starting from middle of octopus (keeping tentacles intact). Place whole tentacles into a plastic baggie and add 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper to coat. Set aside to marinate, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a non-stick skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil. Add garlic, leeks, shallots, and red pepper flakes. Cook until translucent. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Heat either an outdoor grill or grill pan on high. Remove tentacles from marinade and grill until octopus has vivid char marks, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Remove from grill and place on a serving platter. Sprinkle veggie mixture on top of octopus and squeeze with lemon juice. Garnish with chopped parsley. (Can be served warm or at room temperature.) Serve with a side of Roasted Baby Potatoes with Leeks.
Notes
I buy my octopus in the seafood department at Whole Foods. You can also find it at select fish markets and Asian markets.

Adapted from: NY Times

 

 

Coconut Curry Shrimp

Main, Seafood | July 28, 2016 | By

Here’s an awesome Coconut Curry Shrimp recipe that I borrowed from a fellow food blogger, Caitlyn Mortka. She has a fabulous food blog, SoDamnGoodBlog.com, that features healthy, affordable recipes. We just happen to meet on the harbor in Kennebunkport, Maine this summer while sipping cocktails in the warm New England sun! I’ve been dying to share her recipes with you and this Asian-inspired dish happens to be super easy and super healthy. Thank you for sharing, Caitlyn! 

Coconut Curry Shrimp
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound raw jumbo shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 cups brown rice
  • 2 cups steamed broccoli florets*
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, and add the shrimp to the pan.
  2. Let the shrimp sauté and turn pink for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the chili powder, salt, and pepper to the shrimp. Cook another minute.
  4. Pour in coconut milk, red curry paste, and white beans to the pan.
  5. Stir until the curry is well mixed into coconut milk and let the whole thing simmer for 5 more minutes on medium-low heat.
  6. Serve by added a scoop of rice, some broccoli, and the shrimp and bean mixture to bowls. Top with the extra sauce from the pan.
Notes
To quickly steam the broccoli, I usually cut the florets off the stem and place them in a bowl. Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the bowl (a tablespoon or two), cover, and microwave for 3-4 minutes.

Recipe courtesy of: Caitlyn Mortka, Coconut Curry Shrimp

 

White Fish Cakes with Sriracha

This Indonesian recipe is especially delicious because my two nieces helped me make it! We used striped bass for the fish fillets. It’s delicate and flaky when cooked. Any nice white fish will do! Of course, I love heat so if you’re not into that you can go easy on the sambal oelek. I prepared this recipe as an appetizer making mini-cakes, but this is great as a main course as well. Don’t forget the lemon on the side for that extra zing of citrus!  Thank you, Darby and Jordan!  It was a blast having you in my kitchen!

White Fish Cakes with Sriracha
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless white fish fillets
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped lemongrass (white part only)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon sambal oelek
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • Lemon wedges for serving
Instructions
  1. Roughly chop the fish fillets. In a food processor, pulse the fish to form small chunks. Set fish aside.
  2. In a large non-stick sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil on medium-high. Sauté the shallots, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger until translucent but not mushy, about 3 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, combine together the fish, cooked vegetables, sambal oelek, turmeric, cumin, green onions, mint, and beaten egg. Form into 3-inch patties and place on a baking tray.
  4. Wipe out sauté pan and add remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add the fish patties to hot pan in a single layer and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes each side. Remove from heat and pat with paper towels. Drizzle fish cakes with sriracha sauce. Serve with lemon wedges and extra sriracha sauce on the side.
Notes
Sambal oelek can be found at select grocery stores and specialty Asian markets.