Braised Octopus

Menu Part: 
Appetizer
Cuisine Type: 
Italian
Serves: 
4

Chef de Cuisine Zach Walrath
The Florentine
Chicago

Chef Walrath likes to braise octopus to tenderize and flavor it, then finish it off to order in different preparations. For a shareable starter, he grills or pan roasts the octopus and adds microgreens and a drizzle of citrus sauce. To serve as an entree, he dusts it with cornstarch and pan fries it. With any of the cooking techniques, he also may work the octopus into a pasta dish or risotto.

Ingredients

1 whole octopus
1 bottle (750 ml) red wine
2 bay leaves
8-10 whole peppercorns
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 lemons, halved
4 garlic cloves, smashed
Salt to taste

Steps

1. Rinse octopus with cold water and set aside.
2. In saucepot, combine wine, bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, rosemary, lemons, garlic and salt; bring to a boil. Cook until wine reduces by half and the alcohol evaporates.
3. Add octopus to pot; cover with just enough water to submerge the octopus. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; simmer 1 to 1½ hours until tender, depending on size. The octopus is done when you can easily cut it with a fork.
4. Remove octopus from pot and place on baking sheet to cool. Use in salad, pasta or risotto.

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