Octopus alla Plancha with Burnt Pepperoni Vinaigrette
Flour Restaurant - Moreland Hills, OH
Octopus is first braised in red wine with spices, then seared to a crispy, charred perfection. A final showering of salty-and-smoky pepperoni vinaigrette and pickled carrots doesn’t hurt, either.
- 2 small carrots, peeled
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/8 cup Kosher salt
- 1/8 cup sugar
- One 2-pound octopus
- 3 sprigs of thyme
- 1 quart red wine
- 1 quart water
- 4 ounces pepperoni
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Fresh lemon juice
Pickle the carrots: thinly slice the carrots on a mandolin. In a saucepan, heat the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar. Bring the liquid to a low simmer so that the ingredients dissolve. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for 15 minutes.
Place carrots in a baking pan and pour the liquid over them. Store in the refrigerator. Keep the carrots in the pickling liquid for at least four hours.
Prepare the octopus: aggressively season the octopus with the Kosher salt. With a stiff brush, scrub the tentacles to remove any slime and impurities. Cut the head off and discard. Remove the beak. Use a knife to separate all the tentacles, and rinse them under water to remove any excess salt.
Preheat oven to 200°F. Dry the octopus with paper towels and place the tentacles and thyme in a large rimmed baking pan or ovenproof pot. Add the wine and water to the pan and cover with a lid or tightly with foil.
Cook in the oven until octopus is tender when pierced with a knife, about for 4 to 4 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and allow the octopus to cool at room temperature for 1 hour. Gently remove the tentacles from the liquid and refrigerate the octopus until ready to serve.
Prepare the pepperoni: preheat the oven to 300°F. Slice the pepperoni into quarter-sized coins and place on a half sheet tray. Bake the pepperoni until they are deep brown and very crispy, about 30 to 35 minutes.
Immediately strain the pepperoni oil released during baking and set aside for plating. Cool the pepperoni slices to room temperature.
Combine 1/4 cup of pepperoni slices with the pistachios in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture has the texture of coarse sand..
Cut the tentacles into 2-inch rectangular pieces that are about 1/4-inch thick. Skewer the cut pieces of octopus so the flat side is exposed and set aside.
Sear the octopus in a sauté pan or on a plancha with olive oil over high heat, until charred at the edges, about 2 minutes each side.
Place the octopus on a plate and brush with the reserved pepperoni oil. Sprinkle the octopus with enough pepperoni sand to cover the majority of it. Garnish with the pickled carrots and a few drops of lemon juice.