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Sunday afternoon is my jam.
It’s a day where happy hour at home feels right. A time away from the errands, the emails and a moment to just sink into a state of relaxation before being flung into the (hopefully not too hectic) start of the week. Sunday afternoon is the time to whip up small bites, pour a crisp glass of wine and enjoy the late summer sun on the front stoop with the mister and a few friends.
One of my favorite summer dishes is a bright fennel salad topped with smokey charred octopus. And after enjoying this dish at several local spots, I thought it was time to bring matters into my own hands and recreate the recipe – you know, share the love…because everyone needs this in their summer-lovin’ life.
Grilled Octopus Citrus Fennel Salad
Ingredients:Charred Octopus (directions below) 1 Fennel bulb finely sliced with a mandoline
1/2 Orange, de-segmented and coarsely chopped
1/2 Pink grapefruit de-segmented and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup Green olives coarsely chopped
1 bunch Flat Parsley coarsely chopped
2 Pickled Red chilies coarsely chopped (directions below)
Chives finely chopped for finishing White Balsamic Vinaigrette (directions below) Dressing Ingredients: 4-5 TBS Rosato vinaigrette or White Balsamic Drizzle of Exta Virgin Olive oil 1 TBS pink grapefruit juice 1 TBS orange juice Salad Directions: In advance, finely mandoline 2 fresh red peppers and quick pickle in rosato vinaigrette or white balsamic. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Dissect small pieces from both the orange and pink grapefruit and set aside. With a mandoline, finely slice the fennel and add onto serving plate. Top with roughly chopped parsley, halved green olives, pickled red peppers, and citrus. Drizzle with vinaigrette and add 2 charred octopus legs before serving.
Octopus Ingredients Whole defrosted octopus ½ white onion2 celery ribs2 carrotsSmall handful flat parsley4 cloves garlicTsp peppercorns½ lemon cut into wedges½ cup waterTo Prepare the octopus: Add all the above ingredients to a large pot. On medium high, simmer until tender 45 – 90 minutes (check after 30 minutes and every 10 minutes after). Remove from pot and bring octopus to room temp. Cut legs from the body, toss in olive oil, salt and pepper then grill on the bbq until slightly blackened. Approx 3-4 minutes.
The salad is incredibly complex with flavors and texture. The tangy dressing gets lifted with notes of spicy chilies and salty olives. The citrus cuts and adds an extra note of freshness to the charred octopus. Is it possible to have a crush on a dish because…done!
I paired this summer plate with a sweet vinho verde that is crisp, bright and not too sweet. The slight effervescence really adds to the playfulness of the dish and is quite refreshing on a hot summer afternoon. This is truly the happiest of hours – In fact I could enjoy this combo every week until Autumn kicks us out!
If the task of cleaning and boiling your own whole octopus freaks you out a little – Don’t fret! We know it’s intense. Most Japanese markets have pre-cooked tentacles ready for you to pop onto the grill…or you can check with your local specialty market to cook one up for you in advance.
If you want to steer clear from our 8 legged friend entirely…no worries! Try this salad with grilled shrimp or white fish, it’s even 100% fantastic on its own without a protein…just don’t forget the wine.